Castle Management, also known as Castillo Seed, operated a hemp farm in Half Moon Bay, California. Owner David Wayne Jenkins mismanaged the business, failing to cultivate and sell crops at a profit. As expected, the company ran out of money and finally closed in March 2021.
Despite the business’s cratering finances, Jenkins promised his workers that payment was coming. They worked without pay from December 2020 until January 2021. Before December 2020, Jenkins had been withholding taxes from employee paychecks but not reporting or transmitting withholdings to any state agencies. He also failed to pay workers’ compensation insurance premiums and lost that coverage by the end of December 2020. His employees continued to work and produce cannabis supplies, with only promises of payment.
Prosecutors identified 33 victims in the case who lost a combined $138,000 in unpaid wages.
Jenkins was charged with 33 counts of grand theft of labor, misdemeanor petty theft of labor, and several labor and unemployment code violations. If convicted, Jenkins faces more than ten years in prison.
“His victims were very poor coast side residents who were really affected during the Christmas holiday season to have no income,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. “But he has started restitution, and the victims hopefully will all get fully paid for their work.”
Jenkins has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is out on his own recognizance, and is set to have a preliminary hearing on Feb. 24. He has paid back approximately $107,000 out of the $138,000 owed in unpaid wages.