Wash. Physical Therapist Charged with Overcharging L&I

September 27, 2004

King County, Wash. prosecutors have charged the owner of Peak Performance Physical Therapy with first-degree theft, accusing James Gordon Aiton of falsely billing the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) for over $375,000 worth of treatments his company never performed.

If convicted, Aiton could be ordered to repay the amount of the alleged false billings, plus a $20,000 fine. First-degree theft also carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. No trial date has been set.

L&I began investigating the company in 2000 after an L&I nurse consultant noticed a billing discrepancy. An audit and investigation by L&I’s Provider Fraud program determined that the company had billed L&I for thousands of therapy sessions that never occurred. The case is part of a broader effort to crack down on those who attempt to cheat the workers’ compensation system.

As a result of another L&I investigation, a Lynnwood man has pleaded guilty in Snohomish County Superior Court and been sentenced to four months in jail for falsely filing 13 injured-worker claims in order to receive prescription drugs. Arnie Lou Zinke has been in the Snohomish County Jail since July 27.

A restitution hearing is set for Dec. 3.

“We want to thank prosecutors in both counties for taking these cases,” said Carl Hammersburg, manager of L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program. “Labor and Industries is committed to fighting fraud and preparing cases that county prosecutors can take to court and win.”

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