Semiannual Report to Congress #69 (October 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024)

May 23, 2024 |  Semiannual Reports

I am pleased to submit the Amtrak Office of Inspector General (OIG) Semiannual Report to the United States Congress for the six months ending March 31, 2024, which summarizes our independent and objective reviews and investigations related to Amtrak’s programs and operations.


With historic levels of investment from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Amtrak remains at an important juncture in its 53-year history. Not only is it responsible for safely delivering thousands of passengers each day to more than 500 locations across the country and Canada, it is also charged with implementing or partnering on generational infrastructure and acquisition programs that will impact passenger train travel far into the future. With several multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects already underway, Amtrak is both a passenger railroad and now, a major construction company.


The opportunities afforded by the IIJA will rightly draw upon Amtrak’s attention and resources, but it must also stay focused on upholding its non-negotiable pact with the American public to ensure its passengers, employees, and train operations are safe. That said, Amtrak appears to fully recognize the complex portfolio of challenges it faces at this historic moment, which includes an unprecedented influx of funds, the addition of thousands of new workers, the speed at which it plans to execute these programs and acquisitions, and the inherent risks. Consequently, management attention and collective oversight of Amtrak’s programs and operations has never been more important.


Effective oversight not only includes the important work of our auditors and investigators, the Department of Transportation, and that of Congress, but it also requires the attention of Amtrak’s Board of Directors to scrutinize and approve the planning and expenditures of the company’s capital programs. The recent confirmation of three Directors for Amtrak’s Board has helped to ensure continued Board oversight, but the Board is operating with only six of eight seats filled, and three directors are selflessly serving well beyond their five-year terms. In addition, the IIJA requires that one director is an individual with a disability who is experienced with accessibility, mobility, and inclusive transportation in passenger or commuter rail—a requirement that is currently unfilled. A director with this experience would be invaluable as Amtrak brings it stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and updates its fleet. Understanding that there are multiple competing national priorities, the continued nomination and confirmation of new Board members will help give Amtrak, the Administration, Congress, and the American taxpayers additional assurance that Amtrak has the necessary oversight as it implements historic levels of federal investments.


In the following report, we provide a complete review of Amtrak OIG’s oversight work during the reporting period. For example, our investigative work helped achieve more than $545 million in recoveries, restitution, and forfeitures, while our auditors identified $14.4 million in funds that could have been put to better use. Some highlights of our work include an investigation that resulted in a guilty plea by a New York acupuncturist who participated in a health care fraud scheme to bill Amtrak’s health care plan for services that weren’t provided and were medically unnecessary. Notably, the acupuncturist conspired with dozens of Amtrak employees, providing them with cash in return for allowing her to use their personal and insurance information to submit false and fraudulent insurance claims. This case is ongoing but has so far resulted in more than $9 million in forfeitures, five guilty pleas, and five pending sentencings.

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