A celebrity house-flipper was arrested on Wednesday, Oct. 18 on federal charges that he perpetrated “a multimillion-dollar Ponzi-like investment fraud scheme.”
Source: Prince Williams / Getty
Cesar Pina–a longtime business partner of The Breakfast Club host DJ Envy–was arrested after civil litigation and months of accusations across social media, according to reports from Billboard,
Victims allege that Pina stole their money with promises of big profits. When announcing the charges against Pina, federal authorities said the celebrity house-flipper had “exploited celebrity status and social media to develop a devoted following of potential victims.”
DJ Envy is associate with the scheme because many critics say he helped promote Pina, which includes interviewing him during multiple appearances on The Breakfast Club. Envy denies the accusations.
“Promising returns that were too good to be true, Pina allegedly defrauded dozens of people of millions of dollars,” New Jersey U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in a statement. “Our office is committed to protecting the public from these schemes and prosecuting those who lie to investors for their own personal gain.”
While DJ Envy is not named in the charges and is not accused of any wrongdoing, criminally, federal prosecutors specifically mentioned that Pina “partnered with a celebrity disc jockey and radio personality” in an effort to boost his reputation in the real estate space. The Breakfast Club host is listed as “Individual-1.”
“Together, they used Individual-l’s celebrity to promote various real estate enterprises that Pina controlled,” prosecutors wrote in the criminal complaint. “Pina represented that he was a highly successful real estate investor, owned thousands of properties in multiple states, and had business relationships with numerous celebrities.”
Prior to Pina’s arrest, Envy took to his radio show to address the accusations against him, denying any knowledge of what Cesar was doing to his clients.
“Cesar and myself did seminars. 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,” he explained on the show. “I wanted to teach our community about investing and in generational wealth. So I did these seminars and brought industry professionals to all these seminars…that’s what I wanted to do for my people.”
After explaining their partnership, he went on to insist that he has no idea what Cesar was doing with his own business dealings.
“Now, Cesar? If he took money, I wasn’t privy to it nor did I even know,” Envy said. “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. I would never.”