Inmate mails judge letter saying the women closest to him will "disappear", feds say

Kowalewski is facing up to 10 more years in prison after pleading guilty to mailing a threatening communication to a U.S. district court judge

By Julia Marnin
The Charlotte Observer

SALTERS, S.C. - An inmate in a South Carolina prison faces more time after mailing a federal judge a letter saying “we will begin to disappear the women closest to you” if he was not granted immediate release, prosecutors say.

The judge had previously sentenced Stanley J. Kowalewski to more than 17 years in prison after he was convicted in relation to a fraud scheme, a July 27 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina says.

Now Kowalewski is facing up to 10 more years in prison after pleading guilty to mailing a threatening communication to a U.S. district court judge, according to the news release. This comes after he was previously prosecuted in the Northern District of Georgia in connection with his alleged fraud scheme.

McClatchy News contacted Kowalewski’s attorney Michael Meetze who said he does not discuss his cases with the press.

The letter

On June 28, 2021, the federal judge received Kowalewski’s mailed threat, according to prosecutors, which read:

“You have failed to do the right things. Now you make us do this. You will grant ALL pending motions in your court for compassionate release by July 2nd, 2021 at 3:00 PM or earlier. They are all to be reduced to time served with NO supervised release. They will be immediate release from prison and no delays.

If not, then we will begin to disappear the women closest to you. We know where they live, work, or go to school. If you try to alert the authorities, we will know and your loved ones will disappear. Do your job and everyone will be happy and you’ll never here from us again.”

When the letter was sent, Kowalewski, who is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution Williamsburg in Salters, South Carolina, had a pending compassionate release motion seeking a sentence reduction, court documents show.

Federal prison inmates can ask the judge who sentenced them to reduce their prison term in regards to compassionate release under certain circumstances relating to health, personal and family issues, and age, according to Nieman Law.

How the threat was planned

One day before the threatening letter was mailed, Kowalewski is accused of having a person, who was not identified, visit him in prison, the release says. He allegedly gave them an envelope with another one inside.

This individual was instructed to wear gloves when touching the interior envelope — to ensure no fingerprints would be left behind — and to “not ask questions” before mailing it to another state to reach the judge, according to prosecutors.

Investigators discovered the letter originated with Kowalewski when his phone conversation with the prison visitor was recorded, the release says. He was heard telling this individual to “hurry up and mail the letter.”

Additionally, prosecutors discovered Kowalewski was the only inmate at FCI Williamsburg who had been previously sentenced by the judge in the Northern District of Georgia, according to the attorney’s office.

After Kowalewski is sentenced in connection with the mailed threat — as he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 — the term would be served after his current sentence is completed, the release says.

In 2016, Kowalewski was sentenced to prison after he was accused of defrauding “investors of millions of dollars” while living in Pawleys Island, The State previously reported.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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