An Alaska dentist, who gained notoriety after he was seen in a video riding a hoverboard and pulling teeth, was convicted Friday of defrauding the Alaska Medicaid program, the AP reports. Seth Lookhart was convicted of 46 counts, including felony medical assistance fraud and scheming to defraud, and misdemeanor counts of illegally practicing dentistry and reckless endangerment, prosecutors said. The conviction followed a five-week bench trial before Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton, who said in a written finding that he found the state’s evidence “simply overwhelming.” He also said Lookhart’s own text conversations were persuasive. Friends had asked Lookhart how he got away with some of his practices. “Dr. Lookhart responded, in effect, that unless someone was standing right next to him at the time, no one would ever know,” Wolverton wrote. The judge also convicted Lookhart’s corporation, Lookhart Dental LLC, which did business as Clear Creek Dental, of 40 criminal counts.
Lookhart, who started practicing in 2014, offered unnecessary intravenous sedation (which is more expensive than anesthesia) to Medicaid patients in order to maximize Medicaid payments, per the Anchorage Daily News. The practice became lucrative for Lookhart, prosecutors said, and his practice in 2016 accounted for 31% of all Medicaid payments for IV sedation. Lookhart also schemed to cut out his partners by billing Medicaid under a different provider identification and having payments sent directly to his home, prosecutors said. Since Lookhart obtained an IV sedation license in 2015, prosecutors said, Medicaid paid him about $1.9 million for IV sedation services. He faces up to 10 years in prison plus fines; his business faces a fine of up to $2.5 million. An office manager who was involved previously pleaded guilty. And yes, Lookhart was also convicted on the hoverboard-related charges. (Read more dentist stories.)