Ludington man, 53, sentenced to prison for threatening Social Security worker.

October 16, 2018


Ludington man, 53, sentenced to prison for threatening Social Security worker.

GRAND RAPIDS — Kenneth L. Nickerson, 53, of Ludington was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison Monday, Oct. 15, for threatening to assault a Social Security Administration employee. U.S District Judge Janet T. Neff imposed the sentence.

On June 6, 2017, 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 office, 150 N. Jebavy Dr., Pere Marquette Township.

Nickerson had to be removed from the building and was banned from reentering the property. He was “loud and argumentative,” but did not cause problems for staff, William Brown, a special agent for the Social Security Administration, wrote in a criminal complaint. He returned the next day and called workers “idiots,” Brown said.

A worker tried to calm Nickerson, and said he had to leave, but he would not. He allegedly told the worker, identified only by initials, to give him money or there would be problems. Nickerson was told to wait in the lobby. “As Nickerson got up, he said, ‘I’ll see you in the parking lot … ,'” Brown wrote. Security escorted him to the lobby.

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.”

He said he was upset after he checked his bank account around midnight, and saw no SSI deposit. He believed the worker was purposely toying with him to make him mad.

“I’m here to take care of business,” he allegedly told the officer, adding that he would “beat that punk … ,” records said.

“We take threats against federal employees seriously,” U.S. Attorney Andrew B. 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.”

Following his arrest in June, Nickelson was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Ray Kent to undergo a mental health examination. Kent found reasonable cause to believe Nickerson may have been incompetent when the alleged crimes occurred.

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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