WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Narcy Novack and her brother Cristobal Veliz were sentenced to life in prison Monday by a federal judge in connection with the 2009 slayings of millionaire hotel heir Ben Novack Jr. and his mother, Bernice Novack.
Ben Novack Jr., 52, a convention business owner and heir to the famous Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach, was found beaten to death in his hotel suite at the Rye Town Hilton on July 12, 2009. Earlier that year Novack Jr.'s 86-year-old mother had been attacked and killed at her home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A year after Novack Jr.'s death, police charged his wife, Narcy Novack, 56, of Fort Lauderdale, and Veliz, of New York City, with hiring two men to kill her husband and mother-in-law.
Both men, Gutierrez Garcia and Joel Gonzalez, testified at the nine-week trial in June, where Novack and Veliz were found guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and four counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering. Garcia and Gonzalez pleaded guilty in 2011 and are awaiting sentencing.
Novack and Veliz were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit, and committing, interstate domestic violence and stalking. In addition, Novack was found guilty of interstate transportation of stolen property and two counts of money laundering, and Veliz was found guilty of two counts of tampering with a witness.
Gonzalez pleaded guilty on June 28, 2010, and Joel Gonzalez on Jan. 20 2011, to the charge of interstate domestic violence, with death resulting.
Prosecutors said Narcy Novack feared that her husband would divorce her and that a prenuptial agreement would bar her from inheriting the multimillion-dollar estate.
“Narcy Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, have blood on their hands and unspeakable acts of violence to their names, and they will spend the rest of their lives in prison answering for what they did in the name of money," Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said.
In addition to life in prison, both defendants were ordered to forfeit $7 million in assets belonging to Ben Novack that they gained as a result of the crime. They included bank accounts, real estate and vehicles. A federal judge also ordered both to pay $105,515, the amount Novack stole from her late husband's company after his murder. Novack was ordered to pay an additional $250,000 fine.
Both defendants were acquitted of violent crime in aid of racketeering in the murder of Ben Novack.
“It was pure greed that drove their evil scheme to steal millions of dollars from the Novack family by murdering Ben Novack, Jr., his elderly mother Bernice Novack and plotting to kill a witness in order to prevent her testimony in the case against them," Janet DiFiore, Westchester District Attorney, said. "This dangerous brother/sister team will now be where they belong - behind bars for the rest of their natural lives."