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A nationally syndicated radio host whose voice can be heard in 100 markets nationwide is facing accusations of promoting a friend’s real estate scam on air.
DJ Envy, host of the iHeartRadio show “The Breakfast Club,” frequently used his airtime to promote pal Cesar Pina’s allegedly fraudulent home-flipping venture, according to a new report by NBC New York and multiple lawsuits, often in economically distressed areas of New Jersey such as Newark and Paterson. Envy often spoke of his own involvement in the venture on air, according to NBC.
“We’ve helped so many people, not just regular people, but celebrities, athletes, executives,” the DJ, RaaShaun Casey, has said on the morning radio show.
Envy and Pina have frequently spoken together at real estate seminars on opportunities for flipping homes in New Jersey, attracting investors to the venture, according to the NBC report.
One such pair of investors was Jose Santiago and his wife Jessica Ortiz, who told NBC they hoped investing in real estate would be their ticket to the American dream.
Santiago told the news outlet he connected with Pina after seeing him speak about the venture with DJ Envy on social media and put $200,000 — which he received in equity from his Florida home — towards the venture.
“He’s advertising this all over radio and television, so I thought this was legit,” Santiago told NBC. “We invested $200,000 and it looks like we won’t ever get it back.”
Santiago tells investors their money will be used to fix up run-down properties and that they in turn will get 30 percent of the profits when the homes sell. However, Pina supposedly doesn’t even own some of the properties he is claiming to rehab, including the one Santiago and Ortiz put $200,000 towards. The couple was told the profits would come to them in four months but never received anything.
“I am paying the interest right now every month, and I have nothing,” Santiago said.
Pina is now facing dozens of lawsuits from investors — which also name Envy — who say they were duped by Pina, and never would have met him if it hadn’t been for Envy.
“I wouldn’t have invested in Pina if it wasn’t for Envy,” auto shop owner Augie Rios told NBC.
Envy has insisted he is himself a victim of Pina.
“[Envy] is a victim, just like the other alleged victims are in connection with the scam,” Massimo D’Angelo, Envy’s attorney, told NBC.
Speaking on his radio show this week against the advice of his attorneys, Envy echoed that line, and insisted he never saw a dime from Pina’s scheme.
“I gave him a lot of money, that I didn’t see a dollar of returned,” Envy said. “But for any to say I was involved — that’s totally not true, I would never.”