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HomeBERITAHoverboard-riding dentist found guilty of ‘unlawful dental acts’ in Alaska

Hoverboard-riding dentist found guilty of ‘unlawful dental acts’ in Alaska

An Alaska dentist who worked on a sedated patient while riding a hoverboard has been found guilty on dozens of charges related to health insurance fraud.

Seth Lookhart, 34, was convicted on 46 counts related to “unlawful dental acts” on Friday, including several cases of needlessly sedating his patients and billing the cost to their health insurance.

Lookhart has been dubbed the “hoverboard dentist” in connection with one such case from 2016.

“Seth Lookhart performed a dental extraction procedure on a sedated patient while riding a hoverboard and filmed the procedure and distributed the film to persons outside his dental practice,” the charging documents said.

Lookhart texted the video to eight different people and described it as a “new standard of care,” the charging documents said, citing phone records.

Last December, the patient who unknowingly appeared in the video told the court she was outraged by her dentist’s conduct.

“What you did was outrageous, narcissistic and crazy,” patient Veronica Wilhelm said to Lookhart during her testimony.

Lookhart’s attorney, Paul Stockler, apologized for his client’s actions.

“I want you to know that as a lawyer, I apologize for what he did on that hoverboard,” Stockler said in court, according to NBC News.

Lookhart was convicted of 46 counts, including felony medical assistance fraud and scheming to defraud, and misdemeanour counts of illegally practicing dentistry and reckless endangerment, according to state prosecutors.

In a written finding, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton called the evidence against Lookhart “simply overwhelming.”

The judge also cited Lookhart’s overconfident text responses to friends, who were astonished by his antics.

“Dr. Lookhart responded, in effect, that unless someone was standing right next to him at the time, no one would ever know,” Wolverton wrote.

Lookhart’s dental licence has been suspended. His corporation, Lookhart Dental LLC, has also been convicted of 40 criminal counts.

Lookhart’s office manager, Shauna Cranford, previously pleaded guilty to medical assistance fraud as part of a plea agreement.

Lookhart ran a lucrative scheme to charge Medicaid for unnecessary intravenous sedation services, prosecutors said. Medicaid ultimately paid Lookhart approximately US$1.9 million over four years, which accounted for 31 per cent of all IV sedation payments in the United States.

In a statement, state prosecutors issued a special thanks to “the ‘hoverboard video patient,’ the patient whose teeth were pulled out without consent, and the patient who was forced to repeatedly return to Lookhart for remedial care.”

The felony medical assistance fraud, theft in the first degree, and scheme to defraud charges carry a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000 and restitution. The top counts for the business carry a potential fine of up to $2.5 million.

Cranford is due to be sentenced on Feb. 3, while Lookhart’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Apr. 30. –THE MALAYA POST

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