RYE BROOK, NY — On July 12, 2009, Ben Novack Jr., the heir to the famed Fontainbleau hotel fortune, was found dead in his hotel room at the Hilton Rye Town in Rye Brook, New York.The scene was gruesome: Ben had been bludgeoned, and his eyes were gouged out. Investigators would later discover that 52-year-old Ben had been murdered by his wife, former stripper Narcy Novack, 53 — and the body count was about to get higher.
The murder plot was a twisted tale of sex, money, and greed that became the talk of Miami Beach high society, and the complicated and protracted battle over Ben’s millions continues to this day.
Ben’s father, Ben Novack Sr., built the Fontainebleau hotel, a landmark that was beloved by the rich and famous and featured in films including Goldfinger and Scarface. Ben grew up in the penthouse suite of the famous institution.
After his father lost the hotel to bankruptcy, Ben set up a successful business running corporate conventions. Also a Batman fanatic, Ben eventually accumulated one of the world’s most famous collections of the superhero’s memorabilia — including an actual Batmobile. At the time of his death, he was looking into opening a Batman museum.
Narcisa Veliz Pacheco was an exotic dancer who went by the name Sylvia when Ben met and married her in 1991. According to Narcy’s family, Ben doted on his wife in the beginning and bought her everything she wanted. But the relationship, by all accounts, was volatile, and their violent fights were chronicled in numerous police reports.
In 2002, Ben claimed Narcy, with the help of accomplices, tied him to a chair for 24 hours and stole $370,000 in cash, antiques, and jewelry from him. She, however, told police that the incident had been merely a “sex game” — and Ben declined to press charges.Another bizarre detail from their relationship, according to Narcy, is that her husband paid for her to have a nosejob after her nose was broken in a fight. But reportedly, Ben had the doctor also perform breast-enhancement surgery on her while she was unconscious.
After Ben’s violent death, Nancy told police that she had been shocked to find his body. But prosecutors would later claim that Narcy orchestrated the murder along with her brother Cristóbal Véliz. Veliz was accused of also enlisting Alejandro Gutiérrez-García, Joel González, and Denis Ramírez to participate.
According to prosecutors, Narcy let the killers into the room and handed them a pillow to place over Ben’s face. Then, they alleged, Narcy watched as the hit men bound her husband with duct tape, beat his head and chest with dumbbells. and slashed his eyes.
Narcy blamed May Abad, her daughter from a previous marriage, for the murder, and stated that May wanted a payout from Ben’s estate. But May told investigators that it was Narcy who was motivated by Ben’s fortune, which was estimated at $10 million at the time. May claimed Narcy killed Ben because he was having an affair, and she was afraid that he would divorce her and leave her broke.
Reportedly, Ben was known to have indulged himself with years of sexual perversions and infidelities. He had one lover named Rebecca Bliss, a former porn star. They had met online, and Bliss claimed they were in love and that she believed he was going to leave his wife.
Ben had set her up in a comfortable apartment in Fort Lauderdale, bought her luxuries, and paid for her to have lavish spa treatments. After Narcy discovered the affair in January 2009, she tracked Bliss down and offered her $10,000 to stop seeing her husband. When she refused, Narcy called Bliss’ landlady and told her that Ben was dead and would no longer be paying for Bliss’ rent. The landlady didn’t believe Narcy, and Ben continued the affair.
According to The Telegraph, after Ben’s murder, police also took a closer look at the investigation into the death of Ben’s elderly mother, Bernice Novack. Bernice had been found in a pool of blood in her Florida home in April 2009, just three months before Ben was killed.
The coroner ruled that she had died as the result of an accidental fall. However, an anonymous witness sent a letter to police claiming that the 87-year-old Bernice was the victim of “the perfect murder.”
After a highly publicized trial, Narcy and her brother were convicted of both murders. Both were sentenced to life in prison in 2012. He is incarcerated in Kentucky, while she’s serving her sentence at Tallahassee Federal Prison.
After her testimony helped convict Narcy, May did eventually did end up inheriting the Novack fortune along with her two sons.
But the battle for the millions is not over yet: Earlier this year, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal was asked to consider whether Florida’s “Slayer Statute,” which is meant to prevent a murderer from profiting on his or her crime, precludes a murderer from indirectly benefiting from her crime. Strictly construing the language of the statute, the court concluded that it does not.
Following the legal battle the fortune has been significantly reduced, and it’s estimated that it’s been diminished by half.
Recommended For You:
Main photo: Narcy Novak [Broward County Sheriff’s Office]