Ex-Husband of New Jersey reality TV star indicted for home invasion, assault of ex-wife


FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned a new indictment naming a Franklin Lakes man, the ex-husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Dina Manzo as an accomplice in a 2017 Holmdel home invasion at her home.

The couple divorced in 2012.

In December, a Lucchese crime family associate John Perna of Cedar Grove admitted in federal court that Manzo paid him to assault Dina’s current husband, David Manzo Cantin. In return, Manzo gave the mobster a discount on a private event at his Paterson restaurant, the Brownstone. The attack happened in 2015 at the Passaic County mall.

Thomas Manzo, 56, of Franklin Lakes, along with James Mainello, 53, of Bayonne, has been indicted for his role as an accomplice to first degree Robbery; second degree Burglary; second degree Aggravated Assault; third degree Aggravated Assault; third degree Theft: third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose; and third degree Criminal Restraint.  Manzo is additionally charged as the sole actor in two counts of fourth degree Stalking related to the same victims.

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The victims were his ex-wife and her new boyfriend.

Manzo turned himself in without incident and will be held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township pending his First Appearance in the Monmouth County Superior Court. A detention hearing is expected to be scheduled following his Initial Appearance to determine if he will be released or detained pending trial. Mainello, who was previously detained and indicted in 2019, is named in the newest superseding indictment on all but the stalking charges.

Holmdel Police were summoned about 10:54 p.m. on May 13, 2017, to a townhouse on Banyan Boulevard in the township as a result of a 911 call reporting a home invasion robbery. Police responded and arrived on scene to find two victims who had freed themselves from zip-ties after having been assaulted multiple times with a baseball bat and robbed of the couple’s new engagement ring and $500 in cash. Initial investigation led to the arrest and charging of assailant James Mainello in May of 2019. The ongoing 4 year investigation ultimately uncovered Manzo’s role in stalking both victims and his motivations for the robbery and assault carried out by Mainello and another still unknown assailant.

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If convicted of first degree Robbery, the men face up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring them to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. They would also be under parole supervision for five years following release from state prison.

If convicted of second degree Aggravated Assault, the men face a sentence of five to ten years in prison.  A third degree conviction carries a custodial sentence of three to five years in prison, while a conviction of a fourth degree offense carries a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison.

Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact Detective Wayne Raynor of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443, or Detective Eric Hernando of the Holmdel Police Department at 732-946-4400.

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Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.  Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley, of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.

Manzo is represented by Michael Critchley, Esq., Amy Luria, Esq., and Armando Suarez, Esq., of Critchley, Kinum, & Luria, LLC, Roseland, NJ.

Mainello is represented by Marco Laracca, Esq, Orange, NJ.

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