Fort Riley soldier pleads guilty to making false statement to SSA

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email
The U.S. Attorney

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Fort Riley soldier has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Social Security Administration in order to get disability payments he wasn't eligible to receive.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 37-year-old James Scott Nickerson pleaded guilty to one count of making a false official statement to a federal agency.

In October 2009, Nickerson applied for disability benefits under the Wounded Warrior Program, claiming he was unable to work because of "organic mental disorders" he developed while serving in Iraq.

However, while receiving disability benefits, he worked full-time for the Army in various capacities, including serving as a platoon sergeant and supervising other soldiers - all while claiming to be disabled.

The U.S. Attorneys' Office said Nickerson attempted to conceal the work from the SSA by saying he worked no more than 20 hours a week. He was also asked on three occasions to identify his supervisors so his work activity could be verified, but each time he listed others, including a subordinate, as a supervisor.

He admitted being paid nearly $72,000 in disability benefits by the SSA that he wasn't eligible for.

Sentencing is set for September 8. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. He has already agreed to pay $71,734 in restitution to the SSA.


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