YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Maryland corrections officer from Englewood who was charged last year with sending pornographic, racist and threatening letters to no fewer than seven law enforcement agencies, among others, is back behind bars on similar charges.
Nicolay Levinson, 32, had been free on $200,000 bail following his arrest in late September last year when Fort Lee police began receiving complaints again last month, Capt. Stanley Zon said this morning.
Together with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, borough police investigated threatening and harassing letters mailed to various Fort Lee residents, businesses and police department members before arresting Levinson at his Hudson Terrace apartment Tuesday night, Zon said.
A search warrant turned up evidence, he said.
The letters “contained racial, homophobic, and threatening messages,” as well as “threats to commit violent criminal acts,” Zon said.
Investigators found similar letters sent to various public servants and residents throughout Bergen County which included Leonia, Tenafly, Montvale, Paramus and other towns.
“It was also determined that New York City Police Department and the Baltimore (Maryland) Department of Public Safety and Corrections Services had received numerous complaints of harassing and intimidating letters similar to our victim’s letters,” Zon said.
Levinson remained held on $150,000 bail this morning in the Bergen County Jail.
He’s charged with:
• Making terroristic threats
• Bias intimidation (2 counts)
• Distribution of obscene material (2 counts)
• Stalking (3 counts)
• Contempt of court
• Harassment (5 counts)
The investigation was continuing, Zon said.
“[A]ny other victims who may have come in contact with Levinson and received similar types of threatening, biased or harassing letters should report those to their local police department,” he added.
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Authorities last fall charged Levinson with sending similar letters to law enforcement, as well as to Fort Lee borough officials, people from private businesses, managers at TD Bank branches and houses of worship.
Some of the letters “contained information pertaining to officers’ family members,” Zon said at the time. “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 at the time.
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.
MUGSHOT: Courtesy FORT LEE PD
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