Semiannual Report to Congress #59 (October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019)
I am pleased to submit our Semiannual Report to the United States Congress. This report—our office’s 59th—highlights our audits and investigations for the six months ending March 31, 2019, pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended.
During this period, our audit work continued to focus on high-impact areas, with an emphasis on safety, security, and reducing costs and increasing revenue. For example, our work found significantly more drug- and alcohol-related issues among employees in safety-sensitive positions—such as train engineers—than the company identified through its detection programs. We also updated our work on the company’s background check process, and found that the company had strengthened its procedures, but needed additional measures to ensure its contracted employees were properly screened. Additionally, we identified opportunities for the company to reduce its costs associated with servicing and inspecting trains and found it could have avoided $23.2 million in unnecessary costs if it better managed its leased and owned properties.
Our investigative work this period led to more than $4 million in recoveries and restitutions in various fraud-related cases. In one, we uncovered a contract steering scheme in which a former Amtrak procurement official steered more than $7.6 million in contracts to a manufacturing firm in exchange for $20,000 in bribes, trips, and other items. In another, our work led to a $260,000 settlement between the Department of Justice and an Amtrak contractor that had allegedly overbilled the company since 2012. Further, our agents continue to support ongoing, complex health care fraud investigations across the country, which ultimately impact insurance claims against the company.
Finally, we bid farewell to our former Inspector General, Tom Howard, who retired in January. His 44 years of service to the accountability community and the nation have left a lasting, positive mark and we remain indebted to his contributions. It is my honor to carry on the work of our dedicated and talented team—where we will continue to provide independent, thoughtful, and objective oversight on issues of importance to the company, the Board of Directors, Congress, and the public.
We trust you will find this report informative.