MIAMI — The woman charged with orchestrating the murder of the Fontainebleau Hotel heir and his mother may face the death penalty, a federal prosecutor told a New York judge overseeing the case.
During Narcy Novack’s arraignment Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliot B. Jacobson said his office is considering bringing a charge of murder in aid of racketeering, which comes with a capital punishment option.
Novack already faces racketeering, money laundering, robbery, felony murder and interstate theft of stolen property charges, which could land her in jail for life.
If Jacobson’s office decides to move forward with the new charge, “it would make the case death eligible,” said Southern District spokesman Herb Hadad.
Novack has pleaded not guilty to the charges she already faces and would plead the same should Jacobson add the additional charge to her tab, her attorney said.
U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Karas set a date of 10 a.m. May 6 for the case’s next status conference.
Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz are accused of planning the deaths of Ben Novack Jr. and his mother, Bernice Novack, in order to steal the family’s $8 million fortune.
Veliz has also pleaded not guilty.
The federal indictment against the pair describes how Novack, 54, and Veliz, 57, arranged for a hit on her mother-in-law in April 2009. Bernice Novack, an active 87-year-old, was found bloodied and dead in her Fort Lauderdale home. The document says that while someone other than Narcy Novack and Veliz physically committed the murder, the sister and brother aided the killer.
Three months after his mother’s death, while on a business trip in Westchester County, N.Y., Novack Jr. was found bound, gagged, cut and beaten to death in a hotel room.
According to the indictment, Veliz and several other men attacked and tortured him with dumbbells, before pulling a pillow case over his head and killing him.
Narcy Novack, authorities say, let the men in, and handed them the pillow case. After her husband was dead, she ordered them to cut out his eyes. She is charged with paying her brother’s helpers in cash and jewelry.
Within days, the indictment says, the widow stole more than $100,000 from her husband’s company bank accounts and tried to launder $95,000 of it.
Novack feared her husband was going to divorce her and she’d lose everything.
What seemed to be an accidental death in Florida and a random attack in New York, authorities say, was actually a well-thought out plan in order to get her hands on the entire family fortune.
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