Soldier faces fines for false statement to Social Security

By The Mercury

KANSAS CITY — A Fort Riley soldier pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to making a false material statement to the Social Security Administration.

A press release from U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office stated that James Scott Nickerson, 37, admitted the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid him $71,734 in disability benefits that he wasn’t eligible to receive.

Nickerson recently reached a plea agreement requiring him to pay back the benefits to the SSA and pay an additional $250 to the United States Treasury for a stimulus payment he was not entitled to receive.

Nickerson first applied for disability benefits under the Wounded Warrior Program in October 2009, according to the release. He had claimed he wasn’t able to work because of mental disorders he developed while deployed in Iraq. The press release stated Nickerson actually worked full-time, including serving as a platoon sergeant, while claiming to be disabled.

Nickerson attempted to conceal his work activity from the SSA. On several occasions, he falsely identified his supervisors to the agency.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 8. Nickerson faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

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