DJ Envy Linked to Businessman Charged with Multimillion-Dollar 'Ponzi-like' House Flipping Scheme

The radio host has come under scrutiny for his connection to Cesar Pina, whom he's frequently featured on 'The Breakfast Club.'

<p>Johnny Nunez/Getty</p>

Johnny Nunez/Getty

Cesar Pina, a longtime business associate of radio host DJ Envy, was arrested Oct. 18 on federal charges that he committed a multimillion-dollar “Ponzi-like” investment fraud scheme.

Pina, a New Jersey real estate investor, was charged with one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced in a press release. After appearing in Newark federal court, Pina was released on a $1 million bond with electronic monitoring.

While DJ Envy (whose real name is RaaShaun Casey) isn’t named in the charges, court documents state: “Pina partnered with a celebrity disc jockey and radio personality to conduct real estate seminars around the country. Through these seminars, self-promotional efforts, and other marketing strategies, Pina developed a significant social media following.”

DJ Envy’s attorney, Massimo D'Angelo, tells PEOPLE that the radio host had no involvement in the alleged scheme, and that he’s filed motions to dismiss two lawsuits that named Envy.

“Envy is a victim, and sits in the same place as the other alleged victims are in these schemes,” he says.

According to D'Angelo, Pina presented an investment opportunity to Envy around late 2019 that involved renovating a vacant school property in Paterson, New Jersey, and creating an apartment building.

Pina was to manage all aspects of the construction of one and two-bedroom apartments, which would be leased at market rent, D'Angelo says. In exchange for Envy's $500,000 investment, D’Angelo claims that Pina promised that he would return Envy's investment within a year and that he would receive a monthly dividend of approximately $17,000.

According to the filing, the scheme — in which Pina accepted investments allegedly to purchase, remodel and sell real estate properties — began in 2017.

“To induce his victims, Pina often promised 20 to 45 percent returns on investment within five months,” the complaint says. “But instead of using victims’ investments as promised, Pina engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme by commingling victim money, using new victim investments to pay off prior victims, and spending victim funds on personal expenditures. The investigation has revealed that Pina defrauded dozens of investors of millions of dollars.”

DJ Envy has been facing scrutiny on social media for his connection to Pina, who frequently appeared on his iHeartRadio show, The Breakfast Club.

On Oct. 11, DJ Envy responded to allegations about his involvement, in a video posted on his and The Breakfast Club’s Instagram accounts.

"Let me explain some things," he told co-host Charlamagne tha God. "My attorneys don't want me to speak but I think there's things that I need to clear up a little bit.”

Related: Tyrese Gibson Denies DJ Envy's Claim Actor Was 'Disrespectful' to His Wife: 'Had to Pull Up Some Receipts'

"Cesar and myself did seminars,” he said. “Now the reasons why I did these seminars is because I wanted to uplift my community. I wanted to teach my community about real estate, things that I didn't know when I was first buying my first home. 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 continued. "That's what I wanted to do for my people. Now, Cesar? If he took money, I wasn't privy to it, nor did I even know. But, I do understand how people feel if they did give him money, because I gave him a lot of money that I didn't see a dollar of returned. But for anybody to say I was involved, that is totally not true."

<p>Johnny Nunez/WireImage</p>

Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Jose Santiago and his wife, Jessica Ortiz, told NBC 4 New York they connected with Pina after seeing him with DJ Envy on social media.

"He's advertising this all over radio and television, so I thought this was legit," Santiago said. "We invested $200,000 and it looks like we won't ever get it back."

Related: Florida Man Charged Over $35M Ponzi Scheme Targeting Elderly Church Members

Record producer Anthony Martini, whose attorney has filed a lawsuit, according to NBC, reportedly told the outlet he gave a million dollars to Pina and had invested with him because of DJ Envy, whom he’d known for years.

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