The seven workers hired by Georgetown-based Cheever and Rhodes Mechanical LLC to work on the renovation of the former Southwick clothing factory in Lawrence thought that a third of their pay was being safely put into a 401(k) retirement plan. But Roy Cheever, 67, of Topsfield, and Keith Rhodes, 54, of Swampscott, "were losing money left and right" on the job, their attorney, James Walsh, told a Salem Superior Court judge Friday. "The financial downturn just killed them."

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