Cover Photo: AP News | Marc Serota
Radio host and media personality DJ Envy, known for his work on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, is under heavy scrutiny for allegedly participating in a real estate Ponzi scheme alongside his longtime business partner Cesar Pina.
On Monday, October 23, federal agents arrested Pina for wire fraud where he allegedly promised real estate returns that were too good to be true to dozens of investors. He used their investments to pay off prior investors and cover personal expenditures, swindling many out of millions of dollars, some losing their entire life savings.
According to Phillip Sellinger, US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Pina “exploited celebrity status and social media to develop a devoted following of potential victims.”
Prosecutors announced that Envy is also currently under investigation due to his connection to Pina. Envy has not been charged and maintains his innocence, claiming he did not know about any illegal activity or wrongdoing on Pina’s part.
However, Envy is being sued as he was named in nine of the twenty lawsuits against Pina with the victims asserting that without Envy's vouching, Pina would have never had the ability to scam them.
Critics of Envy claim he is responsible for eagerly platforming the scheme on multiple occasions as he spoke highly about his business escapades with Pina and personally invited him onto The Breakfast Club to advertise their real estate business to over 4 million listeners.
Drawing further heavy criticism, Envy and Pina also started conducting seminars in 2018 to teach predominantly black and brown people how to invest in real estate to “uplift the community” and “build generational wealth.” They charged participants $100 each to learn likely unreliable investment strategies and it’s estimated the pair made around $50,000 per seminar.
Envy was even slammed in 2019 by comedian Yamaneika Saunders on The Breakfast Club when the two discussed his real estate ventures where Envy stated his goal was to encourage people to buy homes and invest in themselves to avoid paying rent.
Saunders expressed that Envy was actually encouraging people to invest in him as he was essentially a landlord who flipped properties and rented them out to make money, jokingly calling him a “slumlord” which Envy denied. In response to Envy stating what he does helps people “not get got” or not get taken advantage of Saunders retorted, “So they gotta get got by you in order to not get got!?”
As the accusations and investigation went public, Envy went on air on The Breakfast Club to defend himself against his attorney’s wishes. He is also planning to sue one of his accusers for defamation.
“For anyone to say I was involved, that is totally not true,” stated Envy who further went on to call the claims against him “fake news” and “fake stories,” claiming that he had never stolen anything from anyone.
His co-host Charlamagne tha God advised him to listen to his attorney and to stop talking about the case until it’s settled to avoid possibly incriminating himself.
Envy's attorney Massimo F. D'Angelo released a statement insisting that the radio host did nothing wrong regarding the case.
“DJ Envy is a victim of the purported fraudulent real estate scheme and sits in the same shoes of the other victims, and, of course, he will assist and cooperate to get his investment back, along with those of the other alleged victims,” said D'Angelo.
Envy and D'Angelo hold that Envy never made any money from his business ventures with Pina. According to the pair, Envy himself invested $500,000 into one of Pina’s real estate deals and as of yet not received any returns either, despite the supposed benefits Envy represented previously.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in