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Ex-husband of ‘Real Housewives’ star Dina Manzo arrested for plotting assault against her

Thomas Manzo, the ex-husband of Dina Manzo from the “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” was arrested on Tuesday in New Jersey along with a member of the Lucchese crime family on charges of assault and racketeering.
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Thomas Manzo, the ex-husband of Dina Manzo from the “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” was arrested on Tuesday in New Jersey along with a member of the Lucchese crime family on charges of assault and racketeering.

In a press release obtained by Fox News, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Craig Carpenito announced that Manzo, 55, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., and John Perna, 43, of Cedar Grove, N.J., are accused of planning and carrying out an assault of Dina’s current husband, Dave Cantin, in exchange for a “lavish” wedding reception for Perna at a discounted price.

Manzo and Perna are each charged by indictment with committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity.

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The indictment also charges Perna — described as a “soldier in the Lucchese Crime Family” — with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud related to the submission of a false car insurance claim. Manzo was additionally charged with falsifying and concealing records related to the federal investigation of the crime.

According to the release, court documents describe Manzo as a co-owner of the Brownstone Restaurant in Paterson, N.J., who hired Perna in 2015 to assault Cantin in exchange for a “discounted” wedding reception at the venue.

Perna allegedly planned and carried out the assault in July 2015. He then threw a lavish wedding reception at the Brownstone at a cheaper price paid for by another member of the Lucchese associate, the release states, citing court documents.

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“The wedding and reception, held in August 2015, were attended by approximately 330 people and included many members of the Lucchese Crime Family,” the document reads.

Manzo’s additional charge of falsifying and concealing records is related to the federal investigation of the July 2015 assault and documents related to Perna’s August 2015 wedding reception.

“Manzo failed to turn over relevant documents in response to those subpoenas and deliberately submitted a false document regarding the reception to the government, along with a false certification. In November 2019, agents with the FBI executed a search warrant at the Brownstone Restaurant and seized invoices for the August 2015 Perna wedding reception and other relevant documents that were not previously turned over,” the U.S. Attorney District of New Jersey’s Office states in the release.

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Additionally, prior to beginning a state prison sentence in January 2016, the release states that Perna is accused of falsely reporting his Mercedes Benz was stolen and set on fire. He then filed an insurance claim for the Mercedes to make up for the balance due on the Mercedes Benz. According to the U.S. Attorney District of New Jersey’s Office, Perna allegedly staged the vehicle theft and arson along with other members of the Lucchese family.

Manzo and Perna could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the racketeering charges against them. Both defendants made appearances on Tuesday via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor.

Dina appeared on four seasons of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” before officially departing in 2015 to relocate to California, where she married Cantin in 2017.

She has one daughter, Lexi Ioannou, from a previous relationship.

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Dina’s sister, Carolina Manzo, also appeared on the reality series. She’s married to Albert Manzo, Thomas’s brother, who is a co-owner of the Brownstone.

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