WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A woman from Florida, convicted of orchestrating the fatal beatings of her millionaire husband and his elderly mother, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday.
Her brother and co-defendant, Cristobal Veliz of Brooklyn, was also sentenced to life in prison.
They were convicted of hiring hit men to carry out the 2009 beating deaths of Ben Novack Jr. in New York and 86-year-old Bernice Novack in Florida. Ben Novack was the 53-year-old son of the man who built the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach.
“Because of Ms. Novack’s greed and her selfishness and what she thought was her ability to manipulate other people, there are two innocent people — her husband and her mother-in-law — who are dead,” said Judge Kenneth Karas.
“At the end of the day she’s a coward,” added Karas, referring to her absence in court.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated.
The U.S. attorney’s office had asked the judge to impose life sentences. Prosecutor Elliott Jacobsen wrote in court papers that Novack and Veliz “engaged in the very worst criminal conduct imaginable.”
Prosecutors said Narcy Novack feared that her husband would divorce her, and that a prenuptial agreement would bar her from the multimillion-dollar family estate. Her motives were “hatred, greed and vengeance,” the sentencing memo said.
Mr. Novack earned his money through Convention Concepts Unlimited, a company he formed after his father lost ownership of the Fontainebleu Hotel in Miami Beach in 1978. The company sponsored hotel conventions, primarily for Amway Global. The Novacks were overseeing one such conference at the Rye Brook hotel on the weekend that he was killed.
One key witness at the trial was Rebecca Bliss, a former prostitute and porn actress, who said she was having an affair with Ben Novack when he was killed.
She said Narcy Novack offered her $10,000 to end the affair. According to Bliss, Novack said that, “If she couldn’t have him, no other woman was going to have him.”
The government said Novack recruited her brother and he hired a group of thugs who testified about slamming Bernice Novack in the teeth and head with a plumber’s wrench and beating Ben Novack with barbells and slicing his eyes with a knife.
Veliz testified at length, denying any involvement and blaming Novack’s daughter, May Abad, for the killings. Abad’s two sons stand to inherit the bulk of the family estate, which includes Ben Novack’s large collection of Batman memorabilia.
Narcy Novack never testified at the trial, but jurors did see the videotaped statement she gave to police when she told them “only a monster can do this kind of evil thing.”
“Today Narcy Novack and Cristobal Veliz are finally being held accountable for their gruesome and brutal conduct,” Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore stated. “This dangerous brother/sister team will now be where they belong — behind bars for the rest of their natural lives.”
In addition to the murder charge, the defendants were convicted of domestic violence, stalking, money laundering and witness tampering.
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