YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Maryland corrections officer from Englewood was charged with sending pornographic, racist and threatening letters to no fewer than seven law enforcement agencies, as well as to Fort Lee borough officials, people from private businesses, managers at TD Bank branches and houses of worship, authorities announced this morning.
Some of the letters sent by Nikolay Levinson, 31, “contained information pertaining to officers’ family members,” Fort Lee Detective Capt. Stanley Zon said this morning. “Some letters also contained explicitly graphic nude pictures of males engaging in sex acts.
“Some of the letters contained bias material such as Ku Klux Klan images, along with allegations that certain police officers have been making racial and homophobic remarks about civilians on the street, to the civilians themselves and to other police officers.
“In some of the letters retaliation was threatened by Levinson if his actions were reported, as well as threats to a police officer’s family,” the captain said.
Levinson was released on $200,000 bail from the Bergen County Jail yesterday following his arrest Monday, records show.
The charges: 22 counts of harassment, three counts each of stalking and making terroristic threats, one count each of bias intimidation and filing a false report to police and 10 counts of distributing obscene material.
Retired Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli began receiving letters in 2009 alleging sexual abuse, official misconduct and other criminal acts, Zon said.
The captain said “random letters” were also sent to:
- other members of the Fort Lee Police Department;
- the homes of Fort Lee officers;
- police chiefs in Englewood Cliffs, Tenafly;
- the Fort Lee mayor and borough clerk;
- the Fort Lee TD Bank branch manager;
- various Fort Lee businesses;
- houses of worship in Fort Lee.
The letters continued right up until Levinson’s arrest and were fully investigated by the Fort Lee Police Internal Affairs Unit after detectives notified the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Zon said.
“As the investigation was conducted it was determined that this was not a case of any police misconduct but rather a case of an individual targeting all of these victims and specifically a single officer with harassment, terroristic threats and stalking,” he said.
Four other law enforcement agencies were conducting similar investigations– the Allendale Police Department, the Cliffside Park Police Department, the New York City Police Department and the Baltimore Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Internal Investigative Unit North Region Field Office, Zon said.
“Since October of 2012, in Allendale, the TD Bank Manager, other TD Bank employees, and the Allendale Mayor began receiving letters via United States mail which involved allegations that a specific TD Bank Manager was engaging in illegal business practices, illegally using TD Bank customers account information, sexual affairs with subordinates, illicit narcotics usage, and other criminal acts,” the captain said.
“Along with the allegations listed above, the letters also contained graphic nude pictures of males engaging in sex acts, with sex toys. Furthermore, some of the letters contained bias material such as Ku Klux Klan images and racial cartoons” similar to those in Fort Lee, he said.
Detectives from the various law enforcement agencies compared the letters and envelopes and found similar stamps, postmarks and paper type, the captain said. The dates also matched up, he said.
It came to light that Levinson once worked for one of the recipients, the Maryland Department of Corrections. Detectives connected with internal affairs investigators there and identified Levinson as the person responsible, Zon said.
On Monday, detectives from Fort Lee, Allendale and Cliffside Park, with the assistance of the Englewood Detective Bureau, arrested Levinson at his home.
Search warrants were executed, Zon said.
“Detectives in these jurisdictions are continuing their investigation and examining all of the evidence recovered,” he said.
Zon urged anyone who’d received similar letters to immediately contact their local police department.
Investigating are Fort Lee PD Detective Edward Young, Allendale PD Detective Mike Dillon, and Cliffside Park PD Detective Paul Hroncich.
MUGSHOT: Courtesy FORT LEE PD
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.