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Workers cheated out of nearly $5M in unpaid work

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A new report from a liberal-leaning think tank says thousands of North Carolina workers risk being cheated out of wages they've earned.

The North Carolina Justice Center said Monday workers in retail, restaurants, home health care and construction were the biggest victims in the year that ended in June.

The report uses state labor department data saying regulators cited nearly 1,700 employers who hadn't paid their workers nearly $5 million, up $1 million from the previous year. The agency got employers to pay wage earners less than 40 percent of what they were due.

The Labor Department says more may have been collected through bankruptcy courts.

The center says the state's data probably underestimates the problem because investigations are based on complaints from employees who worry about retaliation.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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