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New York Law Journal

Long Island: Briefly Noted

March 22, 2005

Six years ago, Ali Bessaha murdered his estranged wife in her Hicksville home, allegedly to avoid having to divide with her their $1.5 million in marital assets. Today, Manhattan attorney Charles M. Mirotznik will begin presenting evidence in a wrongful death suit against Mr. Bessaha, who is serving 25-years to life for the killing. The victim, Ourida Bessaha, had two children: a son, Alex and a daughter, Nora, who is the executor of her mother's estate. With Mr. Mirotznik as her attorney, Nora Bessaha is pressing the matter of Estate of Bessaha v. Bessaha, No. 003595-2004, which seeks $15 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. (March 23, 2004 NYLJ, page 16).

"I want the judge to strip him of all his assets," Mr. Mirotznik said, adding that he hopes such a ruling would send a message that at least in Nassau County, when people commit "outrageous" crimes, the courts are not afraid to "strip the defendants of any and all assets to compensate the victims."

Among their assets, Mr. Bessaha and his wife owned a set of four Queens apartment buildings. Although Mr. Bessaha is not defending the action against him, that does not mean the path is clear for his daughter to recover those assets. They are also the subject of a federal civil forfeiture proceeding.

That action was commenced after Mr. Bessaha and his brother allegedly began intercepting rents that were to go to a court-appointed receiver, Mr. Mirotznik, to be held during the pendency of the parties' divorce.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin P. Mulry, who is leading the federal case against Mr. Bessaha's assets, could not be reached for comment.