Cesar Pina, a long-standing business associate of radio personality and host DJ Envy, was arrested for one count of wire fraud last week for his alleged involvement in an investment fraud scheme worth millions of dollars.
Pina, 45, allegedly lured numerous individuals to entrust him with millions of dollars to acquire and invest in residential properties. However, rather than sharing the profits, he deceived his investors through a “Ponzi-like” scheme, according to law enforcement.
Starting in 2017, Pina allegedly began accepting investments from victims, ostensibly for the purchase, renovation, and sale of specific real estate projects in New Jersey and other states, promising returns on investment ranging from 20- 45% within five months. Instead, Pina used the new investments to repay the previous, and diverted victim funds for “personal expenditures.” Pina’s fraudulent activities resulted in the loss of “millions of dollars.”
“Plain and simple, the defendant ran a fraudulent scheme,” Tammy Tomlins, special agent in charge of IRS’ Criminal Investigation Newark Field Office, said in a statement. “They falsely represented the nature of their business and lied about potential investment returns to bilk unsuspecting victims out of millions.”
DJ Envy (left) and Cesar Piña (right) attend Brandon Medford Sales Academy Launch Event on October 04, 2022 in New York City. Johnny Nunez | Getty Images.
Since his arrest, Cesar Pina has been released on a $1 million bond but is restricted from leaving New Jersey. If convicted on the wire fraud charge, he could face up to 20 years in prison and substantial fines of up to $250,000.
Is DJ Envy Involved in the Ponzi Scheme?
According to the complaint, Pina established credibility by conducting real estate seminars with “a celebrity disc jockey and radio personality” before initiating the alleged scheme. It was through the seminars, “self-promotional efforts,” and marketing that Pina garnered his extensive social media following, documents state.
DJ Envy is not named as the “personality” mentioned in the documents, but he frequently promoted Pina’s investment project on the “Breakfast Club” podcast (which he co-hosts), asserting that they had “helped so many people,” Vulture reported.
DJ Envy refuted any knowledge or participation on the “Breakfast Club,” adding that his attorneys advised him not to comment on the matter but felt compelled to “clear up a little bit” of the situation.
“Cesar and I did seminars, and the reason I did these seminars was because I wanted to uplift my community, I wanted to teach my community about real estate,” Envy said, adding that he brought in a myriad of experts to such seminars. “Now Cesar, if he took money, I wasn’t privy to it, nor did I even know.”
Envy also claimed that he had given money to Pina, which he “didn’t see a dollar of returned.”