The hoverboard is the cursed gadget that keeps on giving. Years after the devices became infamous for exploding, they’re back in the news. This week, Seth Lookhart, a former dentist in Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced to 12 years in jail after a video of him removing a patient’s tooth while riding a hoverboard drew unwanted attention to his illegal activities. Lookhart was convicted on 46 felony and misdemeanour counts in January that included charges of medical assistance fraud, scheme to defraud, unlawful dental acts, and reckless endangerment.
Lookhart’s sentencing took place on Monday, and according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Law, he was given a full sentence of 20 years in jail with eight years suspended. The disgraced dentist was also placed on probation for 10 years and told he can’t practice medicine during that time. According to local news outlet KTUU, the state could still revoke Lookhart’s medical licence permanently.
In 2016, at the height of the hoverboard fad, Lookhart decided to conduct a routine tooth removal procedure while teetering on one of the devices. Video footage was taken of the event in which he can be seen victoriously pulling the tooth from the mouth of a sedated patient. He then proceeds to engage the hoverboard and speed down the hallway of his office with his arms raised above his head. According to charging documents, Lookhart’s actions “did not conform to minimum professional standards of dentistry,” and he shared the video with several “persons outside his dental practice.”
The stunt is the primary reason Lookhart’s case has gone viral, but authorities found that he was also unnecessarily sedating patients to rack up fraudulent Medicaid charges totaling almost $US2 ($3) million — a scam that authorities say he freely described in text messages saying that he was offering a “new standard of care.” In the statement, Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton is quoted as telling the court that the “overwhelming amount of evidence was often supported, and often in excruciating detail, by Lookhart’s own texts, photos, and videos.”
Some of Lookhart’s victims confronted him from the witness stand during the trial. Veronica Wilhelm, the patient in the hoverboard video, told Lookhart in the courtroom, “I don’t have anything bad to say about taking out my tooth, I appreciate that, but I just think that what you did was outrageous, narcissistic, you know, and crazy.”