Anchorage, Alaska (NBC) (09/17/20)— An Anchorage dentist captured on video extracting a patient’s tooth as he rode a hoverboard was sentenced to 12 years for Medicaid fraud and other crimes.
Seth Lookhart’s antics “darn near killed some people,” Alaska Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton said at sentencing Monday.
“And then, after that,” the judge said, “you bragged about it in your texts.”
The 2016 hoverboard stunt, which took place as Lookhart performed a tooth extraction on a sedated patient, preceded a wider probe of his practices.
Wolverton on Monday quoted that patient’s testimony from December: “What you did was outrageous, narcissistic and crazy,” Veronica Wilhelm told the court.
The 35-year-old dentist was convicted in January of more than 40 counts, including “unlawful dental acts,” reckless endangerment and Medicaid fraud.
Evidence presented at trial showed other patients were left unattended while sedated, had breathing and heart complications and in some cases nearly died.
Patients also testified they woke from anesthesia to discover Lookhart worked on or removed the wrong teeth or strayed from agreed treatment plans.
The judge said he was particularly struck by numerous text messages in which Lookhart bragged to friends about his crimes.
Lookhart apologized in court while reading a prepared statement.
“While I do not doubt that I was able to render care and alleviate the pain to many people who were in dire need, I also know that I could have and should have maintained better discipline and focus while serving a patient base I came to love,” he said.
His attorney, Kevin Fitzgerald, pleaded for leniency during sentencing, saying that Lookhart lost his business, faced lawsuits, was the subject of “negative publicity” and is “likely” to lose his license.
“I know I would be my best self and, in turn, be able to serve my family and the community best if I were granted the privilege and the hope of a renewed lease on life practicing dentistry and living among those that I love,” Lookhart told the court Monday.
Wolverton sentenced Lookhart to 20 years, but with eight of them suspended.
Fitzgerald said he would ask corrections officials if Lookhart can serve from home with an ankle monitor to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to NBC affiliate KTUU in Anchorage.
Court records show the dentist was due back in court December 7, when he was expected to begin serving his sentence.
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