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Justice News

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Defendant Convicted Of Ordering 2004 Murder Of Jeweler In Midtown Manhattan

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that HECTOR RIVERA was found guilty on Friday of ordering the 2004 murder of Eduard Nektalov, a Manhattan diamond dealer.  RIVERA was convicted on all counts following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. 


Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Thirteen years ago, Eduard Nektalov was shot to death on a crowded sidewalk in midtown Manhattan.  For over a decade, this brazen murder was left unexplained.  Now, not only has that mystery been solved, a unanimous jury has convicted Hector Rivera of ordering the execution-style murder of Eduard Nektalov over a business dispute.  Rivera now faces a mandatory sentence of life in a federal prison.  We hope the verdict brings some measure of closure and comfort to Eduard Nektalov’s family.”


According to the allegations in the Indictment and the evidence presented in court during the trial:


RIVERA was the leader of a violent robbery crew that operated in the diamond district in midtown Manhattan.  In 2004, RIVERA commissioned the murder of Eduard Nektalov because of a business dispute between Nektalov and one of RIVERA’s criminal associates.  During the evening rush hour on May 20, 2004, a hitman hired by RIVERA followed Nektalov from his jewelry store on West 47th Street.  Less than a block from the store, the hitman shot Nektalov once in the head and twice in the back in the middle of a crowded sidewalk on Sixth Avenue.  Nektalov was pronounced dead within 20 minutes of the shooting.  RIVERA paid the hitman and another participant a combined total of $30,000 to carry out the murder.


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RIVERA, 65, was found guilty of conspiring to commit murder for hire and murder for hire, each of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison; and using a firearm to commit murder, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, which must run consecutively to the sentences imposed on all other counts.  RIVERA is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Engelmayer on April 11, 2018.   


Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department.  He also thanked the District Attorney’s Office for New York County and the District Attorney’s Office for Bronx County for their assistance with the prosecution.  


The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Hartman and Jordan Estes are in charge of the prosecution. 

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated November 20, 2017