HOWELL — An official-looking letter from the state claiming a local business owner and resident is on the Megan's Law list is a fake and should not be opened, according to police.

"The person named is this letter is NOT subject to any type of investigation, prosecution or conviction of any offense related to Megan’s Law," Howell police wrote in a statement on their Facebook page.

Police did not reveal the name of the individual or business.

The hand-stamped letter has the return address of the "Department of Law and Public Safety Office of the Attorney General"

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

According to Megan's Law guidelines, any notification needed about a registered sex offender moving into an area is hand-delivered.

Megan's Law guidelines say that sex offenders must register with their local police, and the information is shared with State Police and the county prosecutor. Prosecutors review the case and determine if the offender is a Tier 1 (low risk), Tier 2 (moderate risk) or Tier 3 (high risk).

Residents are notified when a Tier 3 (high risk) offender has moved into a neighborhood. The notification is delivered in person to an adult member of a household by police or the prosecutor's office.

Howell police said they believe the letter was sent "in retaliation for operating a successful business and to prevent further growth opportunities."

If you receive the letter, police ask that you not open it, and handle it as little as possible. The letter can be brought to police or arrangements can be made for an officer to pick up by calling 732-938-4111. Police said they already have several letters.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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