WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – A brother and sister were convicted of the beating deaths of the sister’s husband, and the brother’s mother – members of the family that built the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
A federal jury convicted both Narcisa Veliz Novack, 55, and Cristobal Veliz, 58, of 10 counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, and violent crime in aid of racketeering: the murder of Ben Novack; and convicted Novack of three additional counts, including money laundering, and Veliz of two counts of witness tampering.
“The racketeering counts relate to, among other things, the murder of Bernice Novack, and the maiming and assault of Ben Novack,” prosecutors said in the statement. “They were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit, and committing interstate domestic violence and stalking.”
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in the statement: “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.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in its statement: “According to the 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 – 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 Novack’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.”