TUMWATER, Wash. — A roofing contractor is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of theft after fraudulently collecting more than $54,000 in workers’ compensation by claiming an injury left him unable to work as a roofer.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) reports that Patrick Dean Farthing of Lakewood claimed an on-the-job shoulder injury in 2010 was so severe he could no longer work. But state investigators observed Farthing, 63, walking on roofs, removing roof tiles, and moving construction equipment and heavy materials.
Farthing is charged with wrongfully taking thousands of dollars in wage replacement payments from mid-2014 to January 2021. He is scheduled to be arraigned on one count of first-degree theft, a felony offense, in Thurston County Superior Court in Olympia on Dec. 27.
“When we hear about fraud, we investigate,” said Celeste Monahan, assistant director for L&I’s Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards division. “Cheaters seem to think that stealing workers’ comp benefits doesn’t hurt anyone. But it’s taking money from legitimately injured workers, and everyone whose hard-earned dollars support the workers’ compensation system.”
According to L&I, Farthing injured his shoulder in 2010 while repairing a roof. His medical provider determined the injury was so serious he couldn’t work as a roofer. That assessment, coupled with Farthing’s declarations that he wasn’t working in any job, allowed him to qualify for temporary wage replacement payments and then for a pension.
L&I launched a two-year investigation into Farthing in 2018 after receiving a tip he was working as a roofer. Investigators determined Farthing had been running his own business that performed roofing jobs throughout the South Sound.
Investigators photographed Farthing removing and installing roofs, directing work crews, and moving equipment and materials on and off job sites, according to charging papers. They obtained Farthing’s bank records, and building supply invoices showing he was buying roofing materials starting in 2014, sometimes using the name Adam Lay.
The Washington State Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.
Farthing was also caught working as an unregistered contractor. He reportedly used the alias Adam Lay and occasionally did business as Pat Farthing Roofing.
As part of the investigation, construction compliance inspectors caught Farthing and his work crews roofing houses in Spanaway and Olympia in 2018, according to inspection records. They issued him civil infractions for unregistered contracting, with penalties totaling $5,000 that remain unpaid.
When the inspector at the Spanaway site asked Farthing if he wanted to register as a contractor, Farthing responded, “he was not interested,” the inspector’s statement said.