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Press Release

Federal Inmate Pleads Guilty to Threatening Federal Judge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA —Stanley J. Kowalewski, 50, of North Carolina, has pleaded guilty to mailing threatening communications to a United States District Court Judge.

Evidence obtained in the investigation revealed that following a federal jury trial in the Northern District of Georgia, Kowalewski was convicted on 22 counts related to a fraud scheme and sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison.  While serving that sentence in a prison in South Carolina, a federal judge received a letter that threatened to cause the women close to the judge to disappear if the judge did not grant all pending compassionate release motions, or motions for a reduction in sentence and release from prison, by a certain date.  Specifically, the letter stated:

“Judge [Redacted],

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.


The day before the threat was mailed, an individual visited Kowalewski in prison. During that visit, Kowalewski provided that person two envelopes, one inside the other, and told that person to handle the interior envelope with gloves, to not get fingerprints on the envelope, to not ask questions, and to place it in the mail.  A recorded prison call from Kowalewski to the visitor revealed that Kowalewski directed the person to hurry up and mail the letter. 

The investigation also revealed that there was no other inmate at Kowalewski’s facility who was sentenced by the victim judge or court.  The letter was mailed across state lines and delivered to the victim judge.  At the time of the threat, Kowalewski had a compassionate release motion pending before the victim court.

Kowalewski faces up to 10 years in federal prison, which can be ordered to be served consecutive to his current sentence. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, restitution, and three years of court-ordered supervision to follow the term of imprisonment.  Chief United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Kowalewski after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the United States Marshals Service with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and agencies in the Northern District of Georgia. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliott B. Daniels is prosecuting the case.



Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982

Updated July 27, 2022