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If you're afraid of the dentist or wary of getting in the chair before opening wide, look away now. A dentist in Alaska who filmed himself removing a patient's tooth whilst riding a hoverboard, before sharing the footage with his friends has just been found guilty of $1.9 million fraud after his reckless behaviour prompted a probe into his medical behaviour.
Seth Lockhart, a dentist at Clear Creek Dental in Anchorage in Alaska, filmed himself operating on Veronica Wilheim in July 2016 as he carried out the procedure whilst standing on a hoverboard.
The footage shows Lockhart removing a tooth using a tool before handing it to his dental assistant, he then throws his hands up in a self-congratulatory victory as he zooms out of the room.
The somewhat arrogant footage was then shared by Lockhart with at least eight friends, as he bragged claiming it to be 'a new standard of care'.
The reckless behaviour by the 24-year-old dentist then led to a wider probe into his behaviour, which uncovered felony medical assistance fraud, scheming to defraud, and misdemeanor counts of illegally practicing dentistry and reckless endangerment. All costly mistakes for Lockhart, who defrauded Medicaid out of $1.9million.
Following a five week trial at Anchorage Superior Court, Lockhart was convicted by Judge Michael Wolverton who described the state's evidence against the dentist as "simply overwhelming".
Describing Lockhart's careless attitude as he shared the videos on text with friends, Judge Wolverton said: "Dr. Lockhart responded, in effect, that unless someone was standing right next to him at the time, no one would ever know."
The patient in the footage, Veronica Wilheim, gave evidence in the court case Wilheim told the courtroom that she had no idea she was being filmed during the procedure, and was only informed after she was contacted by investigators.
She described being "shocked, pretty livid - pissed off" after the extent of Lockhart's footage was revealed. When questioned if she gave her consent to being filmed or to the procedure being carried out whilst on a hoverboard, Wilheim replied: "He never did. I obviously wouldn't have approved that. That's dangerous."
She added: "I think you have to be pretty narcissistic, you must be pretty full of yourself to think you can pull someone's tooth out on a hoverboard."
Apart from the obvious misconduct of carrying out dental procedures on a hoverboard and filming patients without their permission, the judge also convicted Lockhart's corporation, Lockhart Dental LLC, which did business as Clear Creek Dental, of 40 criminal counts.
The careless filming incident would also prove to be even more of a headache for Lockhart as it proved he unnecessarily sedated Medicaid patients to maximise Medicaid payments - whereby he was able to make a profit. The case revealed that Lockhart fraudulently took $250,000 from his partners, and former employees alleged that he specifically pushed for the sedation procedure on Medicaid patients.
Word of Lockhart's Medicaid fraud reached investigators in 2016 when a former employee told the state that he was profiting by performing more IV sedation than needed. During the case he was found guilty of fraud against Medicaid of $1.9 million, and Clear Creek Dental is now described as "permanently closed" according to Google My Business listings.
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