Former WKU professor sentenced to 52 weekends in jail for fraud

Rebekah Alvey

Former WKU civil engineering professor Matthew Dettman was sentenced on Wednesday to serve 52 weekends in the Warren County Regional Jail for defrauding the university, according to a report from the Bowling Green Daily News.

In addition to jail time, Dettman must pay $236,000 in restitution to WKU and will be on probation for three years. 

Dettman was charged on Sept. 7, 2018 by the FBI for diverting payments to WKU for concrete and soil tests in the amount of $236,000, and plead guilty to felony fraud later that month.

Following the FBI investigation into a possible misuse of funds, Dettman was placed on unpaid administrative leave in October 2017 and resigned in December of the same year.

The investigation focused on Dettman’s management of the WKU Engineering Lab where students were hired to conduct soil and concrete testing for local businesses. Records show Dettman kept the $236,000 in consulting fees that were intended to transfer to WKU from 2008 through October 2017.

In a statement filed prior to sentencing, Dettman said he billed clients directly which violated an arrangement where clients were invoiced through WKU and the university kept a portion of the revenue. 

In the filing, Dettman stated he was battling an opioid addiction when the fraud began and it continued after he successfully sought treatment. 

Dettman was hired in 1992 as an assistant professor, promoted to associate professor in 1997 and was granted tenure in 1998, according to a former Herald article.