and , her brother, have been convicted by a federal jury in White Plains of spearheading the 2009 slayings of millionaire Ben Novack Jr. at the Hilton Rye Town and his mother in Florida.
“Narcy Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, will now have to answer for the blood of Ben Novack and his elderly mother," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. "Today, a federal jury convicted the defendants of two gruesome, sadistic, and ultimately fatal attacks, along with a catalogue of other crimes. Motivated by greed, the defendants and their coconspirators assiduously plotted their fatal crime spree for over two years, then attempted to cover their tracks by plotting to kill an essential witness – all while Narcy Novack was attempting to take control of her murdered husband‟s assets. Justice was served today, and now punishment will be meted out to these defendants."
was attacked on July 12, 2009 at the Hilton Rye Town and his mother was attacked April 4 that same year in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
“These defendants, modern day "public enemies,‟ planned, orchestrated, enlisted accomplices and assisted in the brutal killing of Ben Novack Jr. here in Westchester and his mother, Bernice Novack in Florida," said Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. "Through the close collaboration and a strong working relationship on all levels between the District Attorney's Office and the United States Attorney‟s Office, investigators and prosecutors were able to build a strong case against these defendants and ultimately bring them to justice.”
Ben Novack Jr., the son of the founder of the famed Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami, was found dead in his hotel suite after being beaten, stabbed and bound. He was attending a convention that his company, Novack Enterprises, organized for the marketing company Amway.
According to the Superseding 15-count indictment filed in White Plains federal court, as well as evidence and testimony presented at trial:
Ben and Bernice Novack were members of the family that built the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Ben Novack, who was 52 at the time of his death, owned Novack Enterprises, Inc, which did business as Convention Concepts Unlimited, a company that organized and oversaw conventions held by various businesses.
Bernice Novack, who was 86 at the time of her death, was the secretary of Novack Enterprises, Inc.
Beginning in February 2009, Narcy Novack and Veliz plotted to attack Bernice Novack and then Ben Novack, and hired two hit men – Alejandro Cesar Gutierrez Garcia and Joel Gonzalez – to accomplish those attacks. Both men are cooperating with the government and testified at trial.
On April 4, 2009, Garcia surprised Bernice Novack as she started to get out of her car in the garage of her home in Fort Lauderdale, and hit her in the head and mouth with a monkey wrench. She died of her wounds shortly thereafter on the floor of her home.
In July 2009, Veliz arranged for Garcia and Gonzalez to travel from Florida to the Rye Town Hilton in Rye Brook, where Ben Novack was staying with his wife while his company oversaw a convention at the hotel. Early on the morning of July 12, 2009, Narcy Novack let the two men into their room and they then attacked Ben as he lay in bed, striking him with dumbbells and using a box cutter to cut his eyes.
The hit men quieted Ben Novack’s screams with a pillow given to them by Narcy Novack, tied him up, and used duct tape to cover his mouth. He died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma.
Narcy Novack then stole approximately $100,000 in cash collected at the convention by her husband’s company and laundered most of those funds through bank accounts in Florida and New York. In the wake of the attacks, Veliz twice solicited the murder of one of the hit men involved in the attack on Bernice Novack in an effort to silence him.
Narcy Novack 55, and Veliz, 58, were convicted of the following charges, with the following attendant penalties:COUNT DEFENDANTS CHARGES/MAXIMUM PENALTIES One NOVACK and VELIZ Racketeering Life in prison; $250,000 fine Two NOVACK and VELIZ Racketeering Conspiracy Life in prison; $250,000 fine
Four NOVACK and VELIZ Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering: Maiming of Ben Novack 30 years in prison; $250,000 fine Five NOVACK and VELIZ Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering: Conspiracy to Maim Ben Novack Three years in prison; $250,000 fine Six NOVACK and VELIZ Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering: Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury to Ben Novack 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine Seven NOVACK and VELIZ Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering: Conspiracy to Commit Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury to Ben Novack Three years in prison; $250,000 fine Eight NOVACK and VELIZ Conspiracy to Commit Interstate Domestic Violence and Stalking Five years in prison; $250,000 fine Nine NOVACK and VELIZ Interstate Domestic Violence Life in prison; $250,000 fine Ten NOVACK and VELIZ Stalking Life in prison; $250,000 fine Eleven NOVACK Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property 10 years in prison; $250,000 fine Twelve NOVACK Money Laundering 10 years in prison; $250,000 fine Thirteen NOVACK Money Laundering 10 years in prison; $250,000 fine Fourteen VELIZ Tampering With a Witness 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine Fifteen VELIZ Tampering With a Witness 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
There was one not guilty verdict in the decision, and it has a key impact on Novack and Veliz. They were found not guilty of a murder charge, which would have led to a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
The Government has also sought forfeiture of all the property obtained through their crimes, including the estates of Ben and Bernice Novack, which included real estate, bank and brokerage accounts, various vehicles and a collection of Batman memorabilia, as well as the proceeds of a policy insuring the life of Ben Novack, jewelry and cash.
Gutierrez Garcia pled guilty on June 28, 2010 to an information charging him with Interstate Domestic Violence, with death resulting. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
Joel Gonzalez pled guilty on Jan., 20, 2011 to an indictment charging him with Interstate Domestic Violence, with death resulting, stalking with death resulting, and conspiracy to commit both of those crimes.
Bharara praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Rye Brook Police Department, prosecutors and investigators from the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their cooperative work in this investigation and prosecution.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliott B. Jacobson, Andrew Dember, Jeff Alberts, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Perrone of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, cross-designated for this case, are in charge of the prosecution.