Business

Federal officials have closed a one-time extension for companies that needed more temporary visa workers – landscapers and other non-farm laborers.

Indiana brings in hundreds of these workers a year and makes up about one percent of the program nationwide.

Typically, nearly half of the nation’s H-2B workers are landscapers, and that proportion is even higher in Indiana.

For fiscal year 2017, more than 70 percent of the state’s 1,550 H-2B visa workers were brought on in landscaping jobs.

UPDATE: In a statement late Friday, Duke Vice President George Hamrick said, Duke “determined that it is appropriate to post additional information related to emergency action plans for coal ash facilities….”

A federal rule from 2015 requires electric utilities to publish information on the safe disposal of coal ash. Hamrick says Duke last updated its emergency action plan before that rule went into effect, but, “after revisiting the issue… we agree it is appropriate to post additional information and make it available to the public.” 

Indiana-based American Senior Communities is suing its former executives over claims they embezzled millions from the nursing home company in a years-long kickback scheme.

The civil suit follows a major federal money laundering and fraud indictment last fall.

Former American Senior Communities CEO James Burkhart and his COO Daniel Benson were indicted in October 2016 on charges of money laundering and fraud.

Indiana’s unemployment rate last month took its largest single-month jump in more than eight years.

Four months ago, Indiana’s unemployment rate had its biggest one-month improvement in more than 20 years. That trend is now going the other direction in August, as the state suffered its largest single-month increase in the unemployment rate since March of 2009.

State lawmakers vented frustrations Tuesday at a lack of details on what unemployment and employer tax fraud costs the state.

At the sole meeting of a summer study committee on those issues, regulators said the state may be missing millions in revenue because of fraud – but couldn’t say how much they’ve clawed back.

State workforce development officials say Indiana has the second-lowest benefits fraud rate in the nation – after Hawaii – and has saved more than $200 million by preventing and collecting on fraud in the past three years.

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