A Lucchese crime family soldier told a federal judge Wednesday that he threw the current husband of former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Dina Manzo a beating in exchange for an extravagant gift from her well-known ex.
John Perna, 43, of Cedar Grove admitted that Dina Manzo’s ex-husband, Thomas Manzo, 55, of Franklin Lakes, hired him in 2015 to assault David Cantin, who was dating Dina Manzo at the time.
Perna pleaded guilty to committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity in a federal indictment that also names Thomas Manzo, who co-owns the Brownstone Restaurant in Paterson and was featured on the Bravo show.
Perna said he was armed with a “slapjack” when he and another Lucchese associate followed Cantin to a Passaic County strip mall and attacked him on July 18, 2015.
In exchange, Manzo staged a lavish wedding reception at the Brownstone a month later for a fraction of the price that Perna would have paid, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Another Lucchese associate and a close friend of Manzo’s picked up the tab for the bash, attended by nearly 330 people, many of them members of the crime family, the U.S. attorney said.
U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty scheduled sentencing for Perna’s plea for April 28.
Racketeering violence and conspiracy charges against Thomas Manzo are still pending. He also is charged with falsifying and concealing records during the FBI investigation.
The U.S. attorney credited special agents of the FBI with the investigation leading to the plea. Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O’Malley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendall Randolph of Carpenito’s Organized Crime and Gangs Unit in Newark are handling the prosecution.
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