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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 12, 2013

Alejandro Garcia Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court To 17 Years And Six Months In Prison For The Beating Deaths Of Ben And Bernice Novack



Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Janet DiFiore, the Westchester County District Attorney, announced that ALEJANDRO GARCIA was sentenced today in White Plains federal court to 17 years and six month in prison by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas in connection with his conviction on charges related to the 2009 beating deaths of Ben Novack and his mother, Bernice Novack.

In June 2010, GARCIA pled guilty to an Information charging him with Interstate Domestic Violence resulting in the death of Ben Novack. In accordance with his plea agreement, GARCIA was sentenced in connection with that crime and also in connection with his admitted participation in the assault upon Bernice Novack that resulted in her death. GARCIA was a cooperating witness who testified for the Government in the June 2012 trial of Narcisa Veliz Novack and Cristobal Veliz. Novack and Veliz, siblings, were convicted following the trial for their roles in engineering and executing the schemes resulting in the beating deaths of Ben Novack (Novack’s husband) and Bernice Novack (her mother-in-law). GARCIA was hired by Veliz as a hit man in both homicides. Both Novack and Veliz were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

According to the trial evidence and other information in the public record:

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.

On April 4, 2009, after being recruited by Veliz for the job, GARCIA surprised Bernice Novack as she started to get out of her car in the garage of her home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and hit her in the head and mouth with a monkey wrench. She died of her wounds shortly thereafter.

In July 2009, Veliz arranged for GARCIA and another man, Joel 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, Narcisa Veliz Novack let the two men into the Novacks’ room, where Garcia and Gonzalez then attacked her husband in his bed and on the floor, striking him with dumbbells and using a box-cutter to cut his eyes. The hit men silenced his screams with a pillow given to them by his wife, tied him up, and used duct tape to cover his mouth. Ben Novack died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma.

Gonzalez, also a cooperating witness who testified at the June 2012 trial of Novack and Veliz, was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison. Two getaway drivers in the Ben Novack homicide, Denis Ramirez (Veliz’s son-in-law) and Francisco Picado (Ramirez’s cousin), also pled guilty and testified as cooperating witnesses at the trial. Ramirez and Picado were both sentenced to time served.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Karas ordered GARCIA, 36, originally of Nicaragua, to forfeit $25,500, the amount of money he was paid for his role in both homicides.

Mr. Bharara thanked Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore and the prosecutors and investigators from her office for their cooperative work in this investigation and prosecution. He also praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Rye Brook Police Department, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliott B. Jacobson, Andrew S. Dember, Jeffrey 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.

Press Release Number: 
13-293
Updated May 13, 2015