'Disappear the women closest to you': Former Greensboro businessman will serve extra time for threat to judge
Hickory Daily Record (NC)
GREENSBORO — A former Northern Guilford High School basketball coach and Greensboro businessman will serve an extra year and three months in prison after pleading guilty to mailing a threatening letter to a judge while behind bars, federal officials said this week.
Stan Kowalewski had previously been convicted on 22 counts related to a fraud scheme and sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina.
Kowalewski gave the threatening letter to a prison visitor with instructions to mail it quickly, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release Thursday announcing his sentence.
Authorities did not specify when the threatening letter was sent, but the letter called for the judge to grant all pending motions in the judge's court for compassionate release by July 2, 2021.
"If not, then we will begin to disappear the women closest to you," the letter read. "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."
Kowalewski had a compassionate release motion pending before the court at the time, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Authorities said Kowalewski lied about his participation in the threat when initially confronted by FBI agents and U.S. marshals and then sent out letters that provided the visitor a false story to tell agents if he was approached. If the visitor stuck with the story, Kowalewski wrote, "this will be over."
He pleaded guilty to mailing threatening communications to a U.S. District Court judge and was sentenced to an extra 15 months in prison, which will be served after his existing federal sentence, followed by three years of supervision, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Kowalewski's original conviction stemmed from misdeeds at SJK Investment Management — the now-defunct Greensboro hedge fund company he owned and operated.
Prosecutors convinced a jury that Kowalewski misused about $16 million of his investors' money, ultimately costing them about $8 million in losses on such purchases as a $4 million beach house in Pawleys Island, S.C., for his personal use.
Before his business was flagged for misconduct by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a 2011 investigation that ultimately led to the criminal charges, Kowalewski was known better locally as a high school basketball coach.
He coached Northern Guilford to the NCHSAA Class 3-A boys basketball championship in 2009, but the Nighthawks were stripped of the title two months later after a school board investigation showed that two players on the team lived outside the school's residency zone.
Guilford County Schools did not renew Kowalewski's coaching contract after his team forfeited the title.
He went on to coach at Oak Ridge Military Academy before resigning in mid-2011 as the SEC's investigation and a civil lawsuit gained traction.
Kowalewski loses appeal in fraud case
Kowalewski: Turn me loose, prison docs are 'incompetent'
Kowalewski will remain behind bars despite diabetes
Prosecutors: Kowalewski used multi-step process to fleece investors