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Manhattan U.S. Attorney And Westchester County District Attorney Announce Guilty Verdicts Against Narcisa Novack And Cristobal Veliz In The Beating Deaths Of Ben Novack And Bernice Novack

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday June 20, 2012

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Janet DiFiore, the Westchester County District Attorney, announced that NARCISA VELIZ NOVACK, aka, Narcy Novack, and her brother, CRISTOBAL VELIZ, were found guilty in federal court in White Plains of charges related to the beating deaths of NOVACK’s husband, Ben Novack, and his mother, Bernice Novack, following a nine-week jury trial.  NOVACK and VELIZ were found guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and four counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering.  The racketeering counts relate to, among other things, the murder of Bernice Novack, and the maiming and assault of Ben Novack.  They 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.  They will be sentenced on November 1, 2012, at 10 a.m. by United States District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, who presided over the trial.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Narcy Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, will now have to answer for the blood of Ben Novack and his elderly mother.  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.  I want to thank the jury for their time and service, our law enforcement partners for their outstanding work, and the talented prosecutors from my office and from the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office who so ably tried this case.”

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore stated: “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.  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.”

According to the Superseding 15-count superseding 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, Florida.  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, NOVACK and VELIZ plotted to attack Bernice Novack and then Ben Novack, and hired two hit men, including 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, CRISTOBAL VELIZ arranged for Garcia and Gonzalez to travel from Florida to the Rye Town Hilton in Rye Brook, New York, 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, 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 Novak’s screams with a pillow given to them by NOVACK, tied him up, and used duct tape to cover his mouth.  He died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma. 

NOVACK then stole approximately $100,000 in cash proceeds 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.   

*          *         *

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

 

The defendants were acquitted of count three in the Indictment.

The Government has also sought forfeiture of all the property obtained by NOVACK and VELIZ through their crimes, including the estates of Ben and Bernice Novack, which included real property, 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, 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 January 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.

Mr. 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.

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