A social media influencer and the business partner of a popular New Jersey radio DJ was arrested this week for running an allegedly fraudulent real estate venture.

Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that Cesar Pina had been charged with one count of wire fraud for running a Ponzi-like scheme that involved him taking millions of dollars in investments to supposedly invest in flipping houses that he did not actually own.

“As alleged in the complaint, Pina exploited celebrity status and social media to develop a devoted following of potential victims,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in a statement. “Promising returns that were too good to be true, Pina allegedly defrauded dozens of people of millions of dollars.”

Pina frequently partnered with DJ Envy, a co-host of the massively popular syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club,” to give seminars on real estate investment. Envy also frequently used his airtime to promote Pina’s allegedly fraudulent home-flipping venture.

“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.

Through his association with Envy, Pina garnered a large social media following and leveraged it to attract more investors.

According to evidence presented in court documents, Pina often promised 20 percent to 45 percent returns on investment within five months. But instead of using investors’ money to purchase and rehab homes, he allegedly used his victims’ investments to pay off prior victims and spent their funds on personal purchases.

Pina faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He was released on a $1 million bond after appearing in federal court in Newark this week.

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.”

Email Ben Verde

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription