'Real Housewives' star Dina Manzo's ex convicted of mob assault of her new husband


The ex-husband of former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Cantin, previously Dina Manzo, was convicted of hiring a mobster to assault her then-boyfriend in 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said in a statement Tuesday.

Thomas Manzo’s case — described by a federal agent as almost like a “bad TV crime drama” — concluded this week when a unanimous jury found him guilty of planning the attack against Dave Cantin, who Dina married in 2017.

In exchange for the assault, prosecutors said Manzo offered the mafia member a free wedding reception at his restaurant — which Manzo then tried to hide.

Manzo was found guilty in Newark federal court on one count of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, one count of conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of falsifying and concealing documents related to a federal investigation. He had previously pled not guilty to the charges.

“He will now face just punishment for his crimes,” U.S. Atty. Philip R. Sellinger said.

During the almost three-week trial, federal prosecutors argued that Manzo hired John Perna of the Lucchese crime family to attack Cantin. Perna, a fully initiated member of the mafia, otherwise known as a “made man,” and a crew member assaulted Cantin on July 18, 2015.

The attack, prosecutors said, left Cantin with “significant injuries.” The next month, Perna held a “lavish” reception for about 330 attendees at Manzo’s Brownstone Restaurant. While under federal investigation, Manzo “concealed and falsified documents” relating to the wedding. He now faces up to 43 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15.

Perna pled guilty to the assault in December 2020 and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison; he was released last August.

“We truly hope the victims in this investigation are able to move on with their lives and forget about Manzo and his criminal mafia bedfellows,” Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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