Thomas Manzo, ex-husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey alum Dina Manzo, was arrested for allegedly planning and assaulting the Bravo star’s then-boyfriend, David Cantin, with the help of a mobster on Tuesday, June 30.
The 55-year-old and John Perna, an alleged organized crime soldier for the Lucchese crime family, are both charged with “committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity,” according to a press release from the Department of Justice. Additionally, Perna, 43, was charged with “with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud related to the submission of a false car insurance claim,” while Thomas was also charged with “falsifying and concealing records related to the federal investigation of the violent crime.”
Thomas and Perna are scheduled to make their first court appearance later today via video conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor.
According to court documents obtained by In Touch, the alleged assault took place in July 2015 in “exchange for a deeply discounted wedding reception” for Perna at the Brownstone Restaurant in Paterson, New Jersey, where Thomas is part owner. Perna, who is considered to be a “made man” in the Lucchese Crime Family, “held a lavish wedding reception at Thomas’s restaurant for a fraction of the price, which was paid by another Lucchese associate and close friend of Thomas’s,” in August 2015. Several members of the notorious family were in attendance at the 330-person affair.
Perna and another man allegedly tracked down Dina’s now-husband and attacked him in a strip mall in Passaic County, New Jersey, with a slap jack with “the intent to inflict serious permanent injury” during the assault, according to the indictment. Cantin, 40, was left with permanent scars on his face.
Thomas was charged with falsifying and concealing records related to the federal investigation of the July 2015 assault after officials claim he “deliberately” sent false documents to the federal grand jury subpoenas that sought documents related to the Perna wedding.
FBI agents executed a search warrant for the wedding venue in November 2019 and seized invoices related to the August 2019 event and other documents that were not turned over.
“The allegations more resemble a fictional plot of a reality TV show and will be proven to be absolutely and totally false as it relates to Thomas Manzo,” Thomas’s lawyer, Michael Critchley, told NJ.com.
In a separate incident, Perna is accused of falsely reporting his Mercedez Benz was stolen and destroyed in January 2016. He filed an insurance claim for the vehicle, however the theft and destruction of the car was allegedly staged by members of the Lucchese Crime Family.
If both defendants are found guilty of violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and conspiracy to commit the violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, they could face a 23-year prison sentence and $500,000 in fines. Additionally, Perna could be sentenced to 20 in prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Thomas could face an additional maximum sentence of 20 years and prison and a $250,000 if found guilty of falsifying and concealing records related to a federal investigation.