An Anchorage dentist has been convicted on dozens of charges after he was filmed extracting a patient’s tooth atop a hoverboard.
According to CNN, Seth Lookhart was convicted on 46 felony and misdemeanor counts. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton said the evidence presented by the state during Lookhart’s five-week trial was “simply overwhelming.”
The criminal investigation and convictions follow a state-filed lawsuit. In the complaint, Alaska accused Lookhart of “unlawful dental acts,” saying his standards of patient care weren’t up to professional expectations.
Lookhart, alleged the lawsuit, once “performed a dental extraction procedure on a sedated patient while riding a hoverboard.” Worse yet, Lookhart filmed the entire procedure, then forwarded it to several of his friends.
In one conversation, recapped by CNN, Lookhart said that performing oral surgery on a hoverboard was, in fact, a “new standard of care.” Prosecutors referred to that statement in trial, citing the former dentist’s phone records.
Needless to say, Lookhart’s patients weren’t particularly amused.
“I obviously wouldn’t have approved that,” said former patient Veronica Wilhelm, whose tooth Lookhart extracted while she was sedated. “I would’ve said ‘hell no!’ No, that’s unprofessional.”
Wilhelm told Fox News that she didn’t consent to be filmed. Furthermore, Lookhart appears to have sedated her for what was supposed to be a routine cleaning—the extraction was completely unplanned.
Lookhart was first charged in April 2017, his dental license revoked later the same year. He also faced several private-party lawsuits, filed by former patients.
As LegalReader reported at the beginning of December, several of Lookhart’s former employees testified against him. Along with negligence, Lookhart was also accused of routine over-billing. Lookhart and his former office manager, Shauna Cranford, charged Medicaid extraordinary amounts of money for intravenous sedation, performing the procedure even when it wasn’t medically necessary. The scam earned the two at least $2 million since 2015.
The scope of Lookhart’s fraud is apparent from 2016 statistics: his Medicaid reimbursements alone accounted for 31% of all IV sedation payments in the state.
Wolverton said the evidence suggested Lookhart “believed that he could get away with his fraud indefinitely, and that he believed his scheme was foolproof.” Yet much of the evidence against Lookhart was easily obtained and “supported, often in excruciating detail, by Lookhart’s own texts, photos and videos.”
Lookhart, says Fox News, is scheduled to be sentenced at the end of April. He faces up to 10 years in prison, fines of up to $100,000, and restitution to his many victims.