Howell police seek to determine who is behind ‘fake’ letter

HOWELL – The Howell Police Department has launched an investigation into an incident that saw residences, businesses and schools in the community receive a letter that purported to be a Megan’s Law notification that named a Howell resident/business owner as a sex offender.

In a Jan. 8 Facebook post, Howell police announced that the letter is fake. The police said that the person named in the letter – police did not say if the individual is a man or a woman – is not the subject of any type of investigation, prosecution or conviction of any offense related to Megan’s Law.

Megan’s Law is a state law that requires individuals who have been convicted of a sexual offense to register with the police department in the community in which they reside. In certain cases, notification about the presence of a convicted sex offender in the community may be provided to residents.

“At first this letter may seem real, however, upon examination, it is poorly written and constructed,” Howell police said in the Facebook post. “If you receive this letter, which is marked on the exterior with an address of the State of New Jersey, please handle it as little as possible and do not open it as it may be of evidentiary value.

“We already have several (of the letters) in our possession. You can bring the letter to the police department or call 732-938-4111 and have an officer come to you. We believe this letter was sent in retaliation for operating a successful business and to prevent further growth opportunities,” police said in the post.

“This is a serious offense. It is malicious and evil. We are actively involved in this investigation to determine the source. We have included our federal law enforcement partners as well,” Howell police said.

Anyone who has information pertaining to the incident is asked to contact Detective Benitez at 732-938-4575, ext. 6627, inbox police on Facebook Messenger, or use the police department’s anonymous tip service