“I’m out $22,000,” Oil field workers frustrated after going weeks without paychecks

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) -- Over 20 oil field workers claim they're out thousands of dollars after not being paid for the past six weeks.

"Right now, I'm out $22,000," Jon Avery told News 4.

Avery and his coworkers told News 4 they haven't been paid by their employer, Leader Energy, in six weeks. Others are out, $6,000, $7,000 and $13,000.

At one point, some of the employees threatened to quit and find other jobs but ended up staying, hoping they'd finally get paid.

"He said, 'You know if you go over there, it's going to be another two or three weeks before you get paid. So, you're going to get farther behind on your bills,'" Chris Roberts said.

Then last week, the workers told News 4 the company announced it was suspending operations and letting everybody go.

"I just think that somebody needs to pay us," Bryan Jones said.

When News 4 called the number listed for Leader Energy, it was disconnected.  KFOR reached a former manager who said the company also owes him $6,000.

News 4 was finally able to track down one of the owners and asked why his workers weren't getting paid.

"It's kind of complicated, considering one of our partners here was taking money out of the company. So, we kicked him out," Ron Cope said.

He said they reported that partner to authorities and an embezzlement investigation is underway. He also said he understands why people are upset.

"Until we sort this out, we can't move forward. Once it gets sorted out, we'll pay them properly and get everything straightened out," Cope said.

The employees News 4 spoke with said they're just ready to know when that will be.

"Just want to get paid what we worked for. We don't want nothing else. Just want what we deserve. Just want our money. That's it," Chris Roberts said.

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