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Press Release

Lucchese Crime Family Soldier Admits Aggravated Assault

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A soldier in the Lucchese Crime Family today admitted planning and carrying out an aggravated assault on the current husband of one of the former stars of the Bravo television show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

John Perna, 43, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to Count One of the indictment pending against him, charging him with committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity. The indictment also charges Thomas Manzo, 55, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

According to documents filed in his case and his statements made in court:

In the spring of 2015, Manzo, one of the owners of the Brownstone Restaurant in Paterson, New Jersey, and the ex-husband of the Bravo star, hired Perna to assault his ex-wife’s new boyfriend (now husband) in exchange for a deeply discounted wedding reception to be held at Manzo’s upscale Passaic County venue. Perna, who is a “made man” in the Lucchese Crime Family, planned and carried out the assault on July 18, 2015, with the help of a member of his crew. Perna was armed with a “slapjack” during the assault. In exchange for committing the assault, Perna held a lavish wedding reception at Manzo’s restaurant, just one month later, for a fraction of the price he would otherwise have paid. The reception was attended by over 330 guests, many of whom were members of the Lucchese Crime Family.

The violent crime in aid of racketeering activity count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 28, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O’Malley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendall Randolph of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations in the indictment remaining against Manzo are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Defense counsel: Stacy Biancamano Esq., Cranford, New Jersey

Updated December 16, 2020

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 2-464