Millions of dollars owed to workers in the Carolinas

CHARLOTTE — Thousands of workers in the Carolinas have money just sitting around, waiting to be claimed.

More than $3.5 million is owed to workers in North and South Carolina -- this comes from employers who didn’t pay their employees when they were supposed to.

Channel 9′s Madison Carter explained how to find out if any of that cash belongs to you.

“We want the workers to get these wages. They have worked for them and they’ve earned them,” said Karla Falcon in the Wage & Hour division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

But more than 222,000 workers nationwide never got their hard-earned money. They’re owed more than $160,000,000.

More than 3,200 live in North Carolina, and more than 1,700 live in South Carolina -- totaling more than $3.5 million sitting out there, waiting to be claimed.

“This is money that belongs to the workers,” Falcon said.

The U.S. Department of Labor investigates violations of things like overtime or minimum wage laws, but often, workers have moved on by the time the investigation finds their missing money.

These workers likely have no idea they’re owed money -- that’s why the U.S. Department of Labor is asking people to go to their website and search by past employers and their name to see if they’re owed money.

“Sometimes there’s a lot of employees involved in these investigations and we don’t have the correct address for them,” Falcon explained. “So they may not be aware of the fact that they were involved in the investigation. And there’s a wages that are owed to them.”

This is time-sensitive. By federal law, the Department of Labor can only hold onto the money for three years before turning it over to the U.S. Treasury.

Action 9 reported before about unclaimed cash on the state level.

There’s a chance state governments end up with refunds, deposits or uncashed paychecks belonging to workers and hold the money until requested.

Check every state where you have lived in addition to the U.S. Department of Labor website.

(WATCH: Local middle schooler saves money, hosts event to give back to kids in the community)

Madison Carter

Madison Carter, wsoctv.com

Madison is an investigative reporter and anchor for Channel 9.

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