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DJ Envy's Alleged Real Estate Ponzi Scheme Explained - Vulture

Author: Vulture

Source: https://www.vulture.com/article/dj-envy-real-estate-ponzi-scheme.html

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crimeUpdatedOct.25, 2023You don’t want Joe Budden to prove you wrong …Photo: Denise Truscello/Getty Images for iHeartRadioPut this on the next Rumor Report: Cesar Pina, a business associate of “Breakfast Club” co-host DJ Envy, was arrested on October 18 for his alleged role in a real-estate Ponzi scheme.Pina had flipped houses with DJ Envy in New Jersey and often guested on the “Breakfast Club” as Flipping NJ.Now, federal prosecutors claim Pina “defrauded dozens of people of millions of dollars,” charging him with one count of wire fraud.The same day Pina was charged, NBC 4 New York reported that the New York office of iHeartRadio, where the “Breakfast Club” records, was raided by federal officials, who took electronics. DJ Envy, born RaaShaun Casey, has yet to face charges, but the federal complaint against Pina does mention “a well-known disc jockey and radio personality” who isn’t too hard to identify.So what’s going on here?Prosecutors claim that beginning in 2017, Cesar Pina began taking investments to renovate and resell properties in New Jersey and elsewhere, promising a 20 to 45 percent return on investment in five months.But Pina allegedly siphoned some investments for his personal use and used new investments to pay back old investors.Days before Pina was charged, NBC 4 New York reported on multiple investors who hadn’t received promised payments from the project.Pina reportedly sought investments in properties he didn’t own, scammed multiple investors into paying for the same properties, and, in one case, offered to pay an investor back in jewelry. Pina and his wife, Jennifer, are now facing at least 20 lawsuits.Prosecutors claim Pina built credibility by holding real-estate seminars with DJ Envy before he began the alleged flipping scheme.Envy often promoted the project on the “Breakfast Club,” claiming they’ve “helped so many people.” And many of the spurned investors who spoke to NBC 4 said they got involved with the project because of Envy’s co-sign — like Augie Rios, who’s done auto wraps for multiple of Envy’s cars, and Anthony Martini, a producer who knew Envy.Billboard reported that Envy is a co-defendant in nine of the lawsuits against Pina.During an Instagram livestream, Pina said DJ Envy was “never in the room” with him during whatever allegedly went down.“DJ Envy has nothing to do with any of these 20 lawsuits of these people who are suing me,” Pina said (per Billboard).“It fucking sucks, bro. It pisses me off that all these people are bashing DJ Envy.” But then Pina said of Envy “He’s not a victim.He was my partner, he was an investor.” This is why you shouldn’t do livestreams during the discovery phase of multiple lawsuits.After the NBC 4 investigation, Envy claimed on the “Breakfast Club” that it’s “totally not true” that he was involved in the Ponzi scheme.“Cesar, if he took money, I wasn’t privy to it, nor did I even know,” he said, prefacing that his “attorneys don’t want me to speak, but I think there’s things that I need to clear up a little bit.” (“I think you need to listen to your attorneys,” co-host Charlamagne tha God responded.) Envy additionally claimed that he also gave Pina money that he didn’t get back.Envy’s attorney made a similar statement to NBC 4, saying Envy was “a victim” of Pina after investing $500,000 into a flip in Paterson, New Jersey.That attorney, Massimo D’Angelo, has been seeking to dismiss him from the lawsuits, writing in a recent filing that being named caused “significant damage to Mr.Casey’s reputation and businesses.” Envy is also suing TonytheCloser, an Instagram influencer who posted prolifically about the alleged Ponzi scheme earlier this year, for defamation and other claims. After Pina’s arrest, D’Angelo once again denied Envy’s involvement, telling NBC 4, “Any reference to my client’s involvement in the purported scheme is solely for purposes of sensationalizing the case because of his celebrity status.”Since his arrest, Pina has been released on a $1 million bond; he is currently not allowed to leave New Jersey.If convicted on the wire-fraud charge, he could face up to 20 years in prison and substantial fines.As for the money, two of Pina’s companies have filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and his wife has also unsuccessfully attempted to do so.A judge has ruled to appoint a trustee in both bankruptcy cases to settle debts to investors.“This will soon become the proverbial race to the courthouse to seize whatever assets remain of the Pinas and their entities,” one attorney, representing two victims, told Billboard. It’s unclear what will come of the iHeartRadio office raid.Actually, someone did: Joe Budden.On an episode of the Kitchen Talk podcast from October 2021, Envy says he called Budden for advice when he got into real estate, and the podcast host “told me it was a Ponzi scheme and I was going to jail.” Budden later recalled the conversation on his own podcast, saying Envy’s proposed project “just sounded fishy.”Wait, Was DJ Envy Part of a Ponzi Scheme?

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