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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 15, 2018

Kenneth Nickerson Sentenced To 57 Months For Threatening To Assault A Social Security Administration Employee

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Birge announced today that Kenneth L. Nickerson, 53, of Ludington, Michigan, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for threatening to assault a Social Security Administration employee. U.S District Judge Janet T. Neff imposed the sentence.

          On June 6, 2017, Mr. Nickerson, who was upset about the level of Supplemental Security Income benefit payments he was receiving, threatened to physically assault a Social Security Administration Claims Specialist working in the Administration’s Ludington, Michigan office. Mr. Nickerson had to be removed from the building and was banned from reentering the property. A month later, on July 6, 2017, Nickerson returned to the vicinity of the Social Security Administration office and sat on a curb across the street. When questioned by officers, Nickerson said he was waiting for the Claims Specialist to finish working and exit the building, whereupon Nickerson planned to “beat him to death.”

          “We take threats against federal employees seriously,” Birge said. “Anyone who threatens a federal employee just because he or she is doing their job will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

          Tracey Thanos, the Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Chicago Field Division echoed these comments. “Employee safety is of paramount concern to the Social Security Administration.” she said. “The Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General will investigate and pursue criminal prosecution of any individual who threatens our employees. We appreciate the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this individual for this serious offense.”

          The Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler handled the prosecution.

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Updated October 15, 2018