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Wife Found Guilty In Rye's 2009 Hotel Heir Slaying

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Narcy Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, were convicted Tuesday by a federal jury in the 2009 slayings of millionaire hotel heir Ben Novack Jr. and his mother, Bernice Novack.

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 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 of Fort Lauderdale, and Veliz, of New York City, with hiring two men to kill her husband and mother-in-law.

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. She was accused of enlisting her brother to hire two hit men, Gutierrez Garcia and Joel Gonzalez, to kill the two victims.

Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that justice was served as Novack and Veliz were forced to answer for their "gruesome, and sadistic" attacks.

"Motivated by greed, the defendants and their co-conspirators 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," Bharara said. "Justice was served today, and now punishment will be meted out to these defendants."

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore echoed Bharara's sentiment.

“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," DiFiore said. "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."

After a nine-week jury trial in U.S. District Court in White Plains, Novack and Veliz were found guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and four counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering. 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.

Sentencing was set for 10 a.m. Nov. 1 before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas, who presided over the trial. Novack, 55, and Veliz, 58, could be sentenced to life in prison. The hit men, Garcia and Gonzalez, pleaded guilty earlier and testified at the trial. They have not yet been sentenced.

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