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Popular radio personality DJ Envy of New York-based Power 105.1 FM has been criticized for his ties to accused real estate investment fraudster Cesar Pina.
DJ Envy has not been arrested or charged with any crime, but he is being sued by at least nine parties who have said that without Envy’s guarantor, they would never have been scammed by Pina.
Victims of the alleged scheme said they were duped into believing that real estate investments through Pina were legitimate based on The breakfast club approval of the co-host.
DJ Envy, born RaaShaun Casey, has partnered for years with Pina — who goes by Flipping_NJ on social media — to host real estate investing seminars across the country and has often touted Pina as a genius at investing. real estate on the syndicated morning radio show.
Earlier this month, the New Jersey District Attorney’s Office arrested Pina, accusing him of committing a multimillion-dollar real estate investment Ponzi scheme dating back to 2017.
“The defendant implemented a fraudulent scheme”
“Pina exploited her celebrity status and social media to develop a devoted following of potential victims,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in the complaint.
Pina, the office said, would guarantee lenders huge gains for their investments in purchase and renovation projects. Then, once he had the money in hand, he would instead spend it on paying off old debts and personal expenses.
“It is plain and simple, the defendant engaged in a fraudulent scheme,” Tammy Tomlins, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS – Newark Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said in a statement. “They misrepresented the nature of their business and lied about potential returns on investment to defraud millions of unsuspecting victims.”
Envy was also indirectly named in the complaint, with the prosecutor’s office writing:
“Pina partnered with a famous disc jockey and radio personality to host real estate seminars across the country. Through these seminars, her self-promotion efforts and other marketing strategies, Pina has developed a significant following on social media.”
Pina is now reportedly out on $1 million bail and is not allowed to leave the state of New Jersey. If convicted of wire fraud, he faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“These are working class people. They are not wealthy individuals,” said Alexander Schachtel, the lawyer representing nine plaintiffs against DJ Envy, Pina and others they accuse of being involved in the scheme .
“Some of these people lost all their savings.”
Schachtel said that by attaching his name to Pina’s and introducing the accused scammer to The Breakfast Club general public, Envy has the responsibility to see victims rewarded.
“He needs to understand that when you stand your ground and tell the members of the public who admire you, who listen to your radio show, who attend the seminars you co-host with Cesar Pina, who hear you on social media, on the radio, in person, describe yourself as Cesar’s business partner and tout Cesar Pina’s real estate expertise and support, strengthen and present yourself to people as Cesar’s partner, that you attach yourself to Cesar by virtue of the law,” he said.
Schachtel noted that a disproportionate number of those who reported being cheated on are black and Latino men – The Breakfast Club demographic core.
Envy tried to distance itself from allegations of impropriety
Since Pina’s arrest, Envy has attempted to distance itself from any allegations of impropriety.
“Caesar – if he was taking money, I didn’t know about it, and I didn’t even know about it,” Envy said on a recent episode of The breakfast club.
Envy said he was speaking out against his lawyer’s advice and that the reason he started holding real estate seminars was to “uplift (his) community” and teach others how to reach out. generational wealth.
Envy, in fact, according to his lawyer, fell prey to Pina’s schemes as much as anyone.
“DJ Envy is a victim himself,” said Envy’s attorney, Massimo F. D’Angelo.
D’Angelo said Envy invested $500,000 in a real estate parcel with Pina, on which he never saw a return.
“It’s actually a double victim,” D’Angelo continued, saying that in addition to losing its investment, Envy was a victim of bad actors who are “just trying to make a profit and sensationalize themselves by trying to attach his name”. to that.”
The claim that Envy is a victim of the scheme — and not a perpetrator — is offensive to those suing, Derik Deangelo said.
Plaintiff asks why DJ Envy didn’t alert the public until the federal government got involved
“It’s just the wolf playing victim,” Deangelo said.
Deangelo is one of nine plaintiffs that attorney Schachtel represents in the lawsuit that includes Envy.
Deangelo said that last year he took out a $100,000 loan on his house to invest with Pina. It was this summer that he realized he had been the victim of a scam.
“It kind of took the life out of me,” Deangelo said.
In order to repay the loan, Deangelo said, he had to sell the cars he used to start a small rental business. And if Envy had already lost money with Pina, Deangelo wonders why the radio host didn’t alert the public until the federal government got involved.
“Now you’re playing the victim because you’re seeing all the lawsuits going on. Where was all this information a few years ago,” Deangelo said.
“Maybe if you had played the victim a year ago and said, ‘Caesar owes me $500,000,’ I never would have invested with Cesar.”