Federal authorities have arrested and indicted the wife of Ben Novack and two other relatives in connection with his murder at the Rye Town Hilton last July.
At a press conference in White Plains Thursday afternoon, authorities said Narcisa "Narcy" Novack plotted with her brother, Cristobal Veliz and Denis Ramirez, the father of Veliz's grandchildren, to kill her husband during a convention that her husband's company, Novack Enterprises, organized for the marketing company Amway at the Rye Town Hilton last summer.
Another suspect, Joel Gonzalez, 25, of Miami, remains at large. The indictment also refers to another co-conspirator, whom authorities have yet to name.
Ben Novack Jr., the son of the founder of the famed Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami, was found dead in his hotel suite after being beaten, stabbed and bound.
Authorities allege that Narcy Novack, 53, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, began conspiring with the three men to kill her husband in June 2009.
The indictment states that Veliz, 56, made two separate trips from Southern Florida to New York on July 2 and July 7. On July 10, Gonzalez and the unnamed co-conspirator scouted the Rye Town Hilton in preparation to attack Novack.
"The plot that led to the death of Ben Novack was a family affair," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
On July 12, the day of the murder, Ramirez, 36, drove Gonzalez and the unnamed co-conspirator to the hotel, where Mrs. Novack opened the door to her suite. Gonzalez and the other suspect attacked Novack, tying him up and beating him to death. Mrs. Novack placed a pillow over her husband's face as he was being assaulted, according to the indictment.
After the murder, she gave Gonzalez a jeweled bracelet that belonged to Ben Novack.
All four defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit interstate domestic violence and stalking, and one count of interstate domestic violence and stalking. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum five-year sentence, while the interstate domestic violence charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
U.S. Attorney Bharara said the suspects were not charged with murder because there is no federal murder charge, but that the interstate domestic violence charge, which was enacted after the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, carries a similar penalty of life in prison.
Today's indictment comes nearly a year to the day of Novack's murder. Federal, county and local authorities worked together to solve the case.
Bharara said a lot of evidence not listed in the indictment led authorities to pinpoint Novack, Veliz, Gonzalez and their co-conspirators as Novack's killers. Bharara would not comment on what evidence authorities found, but said that the investigation is ongoing. Authorities are also conducting an ongoing investigation into the death of Ben Novack's mother, Bernice, who died three months before her son's murder. At the time, authorities ruled the death an accident, despite there being large amounts of Bernice Novack's blood found in several rooms of her Florida home.
Authorities have not listed a motive in Ben Novack's murder, but money was likely one of the motivating factors, they said.
"We uncovered what was nothing short of a diabolical plan of a woman intent on eliminating her husband and taking his family fortune," said Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
Rye Brook Police Chief Greg Austin, whose 28-person police force was critical in solving what became a huge murder case involving authorities in Florida and New York, said he was confident that Novack's murder would be solved.
"The stalking and violent attack of Ben Novack Jr., that led to his death on July 12, 2009, was an act of violence never before seen in Rye Brook and I am proud that these defendants will be held accountable for this crime," he said.
Bharara also said federal authorities will file a civil forfeiture complaint to ensure that Narcy Novack and anyone associated with the death of Ben Novack does not inherit any part of his estate, which includes multiple homes, life insurance, boats and a Batman memorabilia collection, all totaling somewhere between $5 and $6 million dollars.
Veliz and Ramirez, who were arrested in Brooklyn, were arraigned Thursday afternoon. Novack was arrested at her home in Fort Lauderdale and is being held without bail.