ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – An Anchorage dentist has been charged with fraudulently billing Medicaid for unnecessary procedures, as well as what prosecutors call “unlawful dental acts,” which include performing a surgical procedure while on a hover board and recording it, all without the patient’s knowledge.
The Alaska State Department of Law, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit released a statement Thursday saying that Seth Lookhart, 31, was charged Monday with 10 felony offenses including medical assistance fraud, theft, scheme to defraud, unlawful dental acts, and practicing dentistry without a license.
These charges primarily stem from Lookhart’s work for Alaska Dental Arts. While there, charging documents allege, Lookhart began introducing IV sedation to clients for more operations than would otherwise be necessary, something specifically prohibited by Alaska law. Once he had more patients taking the costlier and illegal IV procedure instead of local anesthesia, prosecutors say Lookhart “devised a scheme to cut out his partners by billing Medicaid under a different provider ID and sending the money directly to his home.”
Lookhart’s office manager was also implicated as an accomplice in his crimes, sharing almost all of the felony charges made against him. The charging documents implicate Shauna Cranford, 32, as playing a role in convincing Lookhart to introduce IV sedation.
“Employees indicated that Lookhart was initially resistant to adding this service to his practice, but Cranford ultimately convinced him it was a good idea. When interviewed, Cranford confirmed that she introduced the idea of including IV sedation as a service at the clinic,” the charging document said.
In addition to the fraud claims, Lookhart stands charged with several unprofessional misdemeanor offenses, including performing a dental extraction on a sedated patient while riding a hover board. The court documents presented also allege that he filmed these procedures and subsequently distributed the video to people outside the dental practice.
Investigators say that they found the video in question while searching both Cranford’s and Lookhart’s phones. They say Lookhart sent the video to several people and joked about the procedure in text messages as being a “new standard of care.” The female patient in the video was identified and later confirmed that she had no knowledge of the hover board operation or its filming.
One of the misdemeanor offenses that Cranford was charged with include “engaging in the practice of dentistry without a license.” In this charge, the documents allege that Lookhart aided Cranford, his office manager and not a licensed medical practitioner, in performing a dental extraction herself while the patient was sedated. A text…