A former prostitute and porn actress testified on Tuesday that she had a yearlong affair with a Florida millionaire that ended only when he was beaten to death.
Rebecca Bliss, 40, her arms and legs heavily tattooed, said she met Ben Novack Jr., whose father built the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach, through an online ad for sex.
Bliss testified for the prosecution at the federal murder trial of Novack’s wife, Narcy Novack, who is accused of arranging the separate 2009 killings of her husband and his mother, Bernice. Her brother, Cristobal Veliz, is a co-defendant.
Ben Novack was found dead in July 2009 in a room at a New York hotel that he was sharing with his wife. His body had been pummeled with dumbbells, his eyes slit with a knife.
Prosecutors claim greed and jealousy drove Narcy Novack, an ex-stripper from Ecuador, and her brother to hire two hitmen – Alejandro Garcia and Joel Gonzalez – to commit the murder.
Garcia and Gonzalez have pleaded guilty to the killings, the New York Daily News reported.
Bliss, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, said she went to Miami in 2002 or 2003 looking for work as a tattoo artist.
She left an ex-husband and daughter, now 15, in Michigan, and is currently facing charges there of drunken driving and failing to pay child support, she said.
Bliss said she made adult videos in California in 2005 and 2006 under the stage name Mona Love.
Back in Florida, she said, she turned to prostitution. Ben Novack answered her ‘escort’ ad in an email, and they exchanged emails and phone calls, then met for sex. She charged Novack $600.
After that, she said, ‘We got a lot closer, and we talked almost every day.’
She said Novack moved her out of Miami and put her up at a hotel for a couple of weeks in June 2008. Prosecutors displayed hotel and spa bills of over $3,900, paid by Ben Novack.
Novack then installed her in a condo near his home and paid all her bills, including $1,225 a month in rent, more than $9,000 in furniture, and about $10,000 in musical equipment to help her learn to be a DJ.
‘He asked me not to work anymore, not to continue to escort,’ Bliss told prosecutor Andrew Dember.
He also bought her a toy poodle, she said, and a new cellphone account so she could drop the escort number.
Although she was in the condo for about a year, and spoke with Novack several times a day, she said she saw him only a few times and had sex with him ‘maybe twice’.
‘I was being patient, being his girlfriend,’ she said. ‘He was giving me everything.’
On cross-examination, Narcy Novack’s attorney, Howard Tanner, asked Bliss if her primary motivation was financial, which she denied, insisting that she loved him.
Bliss said Novack told her he would leave his wife for her and get a divorce, adding that Narcy Novack called her several times, yelling at her.
‘She asked, did I know he was married. … I said, yes, I did. She told me there were a lot of other girls and I wasn’t the only one.’
Bliss said Narcy Novack offered her $10,000 to break off the affair, which Bliss turned down. She testified that Narcy Novack said: ‘If she couldn’t have him, no other woman was going to have him.’
Novack stared straight ahead, not at Bliss, through most of the testimony.
An FBI agent testified that in December of 2008, Narcy Novack tried to implicate Bliss in an alleged sham-marriage plot by which foreigners would gain legal status in the U.S.
The agent said that as far as he knew, no investigation was mounted.
Bliss said in July 2009, her bills were no longer being paid because Ben Novack had been killed in New York.
She moved out of the condo and lived in an ex-boyfriend’s garage for a while before saving up enough money for a bus ticket to California.