Former dentist Seth Lookhart is accused of stealing millions through Medicaid fraud–but he’s best-known for allegedly pulling a patient’s tooth while filming himself atop a hoverboard.
Patients testified at the trial of Anchorage-area dentist Seth Lookhart on Tuesday, whose case garnered national attention after prosecutors claimed he’d pulled a tooth while riding a hoverboard.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, Lookhart is facing a “slew of charges.” Prosecutors have accused him of offenses ranging from malpractice to Medicaid fraud, patient testimonies and video footage complementing their case. One clip shows Lockhart extracting a client’s tooth atop a hoverboard, rolling away in celebration after successfully completing the procedure.
Charges were first filed against Lookhart in April 2017, and his dental license was revoked later the same year. Several patients sued Lookhart between 2017 and 2018. However, his case only moved to trial in mid-November.
At trial, employees also testified against Lookhart. The Daily News notes that a worker claims that Lockhart and his former office manager, Shauna Cranford, routinely over-billed and over-performed intravenous sedation, earning at least $2 million.
Lookhart and Cranford allegedly began performing unnecessary sedation procedures in 2015, when they were employed by Alaska Dental Arts. Lookhart later bought the business, changing its name to Clear Creek Dental the next year.
The Daily News reports that, in Alaska, Medicaid patients don’t pay out-of-pocket for intravenous sedation. Private-pay clients, on the other hand, were usually billed for about $500 each.
One former employee, Rachel Miner, told the court Tuesday that patients would typically remain sedated after their procedures had ended. But Lookhart kept Medicaid customers under the drip longer—and his enthusiasm for the procedure paid big dividends, reflected both in his own earnings and state data. In 2016, for instance, Lockhart’s Medicaid reimbursements accounted for 31% of all statewide payments for IV sedation.
However, Lookhart’s not just accused of fraud. Joseph Smith, among the dentist’s former patients, said he was anesthetized and woke up missing four teeth—even though he’d never asked for or given permission to have them extracted.
Smith claims that he walked out of Lookhart’s office on a Friday. It took two days for the sedatives to clear. When they did, Smith saw he was missing four teeth from his lower jaw.
“I was violated, I was mad,” Smith said, adding that Lookhart never told him he’d taken out any teeth. “If there was a problem and they had to take them, just say it! But he never, ever did.”
Other patients, like Nickolas Seifert, say Clear Creek “created more problems instead of fixing them.” Routine procedures turned into multi-day ordeals, with Seifert being asked to continuously return to Lookhart’s office. On each visit, Seifert’s account would accrue more charges as Lookhart took every chance to sedate his patient.
Cranford is accused of participating in the fraud, as well as performing dental procedures she wasn’t authorized to do. Investigators say the Medicaid fraud was Cranford’s idea. She pleaded guilty to several fraud charges in October and is expected to be sentenced some time in February.