A respected and popular professor at Polk State College (PSC) in Lakeland, Florida has been revealed as a fraud after forging documents to show he held a doctorate from the University of South Florida (USF). As reported by The Ledger, 55-year-old David Scott Broxterman was arrested Wednesday and now faces charges of grand theft and cheating. Broxterman secured a teaching position at PSC, which required a doctorate degree, for five years, starting in 2009, and was paid a total of $258,760 during that time period. Because of his falsified documents, the State Attorney’s Office is labeling that money ‘stolen wages.’
WFLA News Channel 8 notes that the investigation into the professor’s credentials began after another fraud case against Broxterman, which alleged that he sold a coin collection for thousands, which was only worth pennies.
The man known as “Dr. Broxterman” to PSC students, said he received a doctorate in business organization and management from USF in 2007 and graduated with honors. However, Tony Embry, a USF associate registrar, told an investigator that Broxterman was never a student at the university. Several discrepancies were found between the documents that the professor presented with his job application, and real USF documents. For instance, his transcript had a different color and layout than official versions, and course numbers and names did not match. Even the diploma that hung proudly in Broxterman’s office showed a black and white seal instead of gold, the USF president’s signature as “Judith C. Genshaft,” rather than correctly as “Judy L. Genshaft,” and WFTS ABC Action News points out that the word “board” was misspelled “baord.” Rachel Pleasant, PSC spokeswoman, said that the professor’s other transcripts, a bachelor’s and master’s degree, were verified by the State Attorney’s Office.
Anthony Bates, one of Broxterman’s students told WFTS, “It’s just a shock that this man who taught me so much and has done so much for the school, is not who he says he is.” The faux professor was a well-liked instructor and received 21 positive reviews from 2010-2014 on ratemyprofessors.com with an overall score of 4.9 out of 5. Shawn Fredricks, 25, told WTVT Fox 13, “How did he even get into the school to even be able to do this to work at least five years? Five years strong, that’s quite a while to be working I think.” Pleasant said that per the school’s policy at the time of Broxterman’s hiring, college personnel verified his documents. However, in light of this case, PSC will now be using a third party to verify academic degrees.
Students are also understandably concerned about the classes they took with Broxterman, but Pleasant told The Ledger that class credits would not be affected by this incident. Still, one of Broxterman’s students, 50-year-old Melissah Bruce-Weinerone said, “This is probably the most stand-up guy I’ve ever known in my life — I thought…(His students) now can be legitimately questioned as to whether we know anything about management, and that to me is the most upsetting thing because it really meant a lot to me to finally finish my degree.”
When asked about the case, one of Broxterman’s attorneys at his house simply told WFLA, “No comment.”