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Pecan Workers Eligible for Back Pay at Farm Near Arizona-Utah Border

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A judge is ordering a Utah contractor with ties to a polygamous group on the Utah-Arizona border to pay more than $1 million in back wages to children who prosecutors say were forced to pick pecans from 2008-2013.

U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell ruled this week based on the Department of Labor's determination that 104 workers were eligible for back pay from Paragon Contractors. The department says the majority worked an average of six days a week and about three months each year.

The company previously argued the kids volunteered to pick up fallen nuts for the needy. The ruling is the latest development in a long-running case. The court found in 2016 that Paragon violated a 2007 agreement.