DJ Envy’s Business Partner Charged With Wire Fraud In Alleged New Jersey Real Estate Scheme
The business partner of The Breakfast Club’s DJ Envy has been charged with fraud in connection to a New Jersey real estate scam, according to a press release from the District of New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Forty-five-year-old Cesar Pina was arrested Oct. 18 on wire fraud charges, one week after investors claimed they were tricked out of millions of dollars. The Department of Justice launched an investigation into Pina’s investment schemes, calling them “Ponzi-like” and that he allegedly defrauded dozens of victims.
Prosecutors said Pina gained a “significant” social media following based on his partnership with Envy, whose real name is Rashaun Casey, in order to attract investors. DJ Envy and Pina teamed up often for seminars where they would pitch opportunities to flip properties in distressed areas of the state.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said Pina’s social media following was used to spot his next victims.
“As alleged in the complaint, Pina exploited celebrity status and social media to develop a devoted following of potential victims,” Sellinger said. “Promising returns that were too good to be true, Pina allegedly defrauded dozens of people of millions of dollars.”
Dozens of investors have filed lawsuits against Pina to get their money back. They claim he promised to rehabilitate and flip properties and give them a 20 to 45 percent return on the profits months later. Some lawsuits accuse Pina of getting investors to buy into one property that generated millions of dollars for him in profit.
“We allege Pina offered a ridiculously high rate of return to investors, then took the millions he got and invested it in himself,” James E. Dennehy, FBI Newark special agent in charge, said. “History has proven time and again, Ponzi-schemes don’t work. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow eventually runs out. Investors take note–it’s your money, don’t let them steal it.”
Pina’s wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. After his arrest, Pina stood before Judge Edward S. Kiel in federal court in Newark and was released on $1 million secured bond with electronic monitoring. He isn’t allowed to leave the state.
DJ Envy went on air with co-host Charlamagne Tha God on Oct. 11 to address the allegations.
“My attorneys don’t want me to speak but I think there’s things I need to clear up a little bit,” Envy said. “I wanted to teach our community about investing and generational wealth. So I did these seminars and brought industry professionals to all these seminars.”
He added that he wasn’t aware of what Pina may have been doing with the money.
Federal agents reportedly visited the iHeartRadio offices, where Envy works, to confiscate electronic equipment in connection to their investigation of Envy and Pina.
DJ Envy’s attorney, Massimo F. D’Angelo, rebuked those claims in a statement to XXL.
“My understanding is that the report that federal agents visited iHeartRadio offices yesterday and removed electronic equipment in connection with the investigation and charges brought against Cesar Pina is false. The complaint that was filed against Mr. Pina by DOJ in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey was filed against Mr. Pina, personally, not my client.”