In the wake of the arrest of real estate influencer Cesar Pina on charges related to a wire fraud scheme, a resurfaced clip of Joe Budden expressing skepticism about DJ Envy’s involvement in Pina’s business plans has garnered attention.
The old clip shed light on a conversation between Budden and DJ Envy, born RaaShaun Casey, in which Budden referred to Pina’s real estate business that dated back to 2017 as “fishy,” and even compared it to a Ponzi scheme.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey announced charges against Pina, alleging that he ran a scheme that promised high investment returns, but instead operated like a Ponzi scheme. Pina is accused of defrauding numerous investors out of millions of dollars by misappropriating their investments and spending their funds on personal expenses.
“Investment fraud is simply a crime of greed,” U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Christopher A. Nielsen of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Philadelphia Division, said in a press statement. “In this case, Cesar Pina allegedly solicited dozens of individuals to provide him with millions of dollars to purchase and invest in residential properties. However, instead of sharing the profits, he defrauded his investors in a Ponzi scheme. Postal Inspectors will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat financial fraud and protect the American people.”
Envy was also indirectly named in the complaint, with the Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey writing in its release: “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 Legal Status
Envy, who has an estimated net worth of $7 million, has not been arrested nor investigated at the moment. but he is being sued by at least nine parties who said that it was because of Envy’s vouching that they invested in Pina and were scammed out of their money, NPR reported.
The initial warning occurred in an October 2021 episode of the “Kitchen Talk” podcast of Brooklyn rapper Maino. During this episode, DJ Envy shared how he had approached three prominent figures in the hip-hop industry, including Budden, with an invitation to invest in his real estate endeavors.
“I said, ‘Hey guys. I’m doing real estate. This is something that I think you should invest a little bit of money in, try it out. That way you can do it,’” Envy remembered. “Joe Budden told me it was a Ponzi scheme, and I was going to go to jail.”
Joe Budden’s Recollection
In a subsequent clip from a June 2023 episode of “The Joe Budden Podcast,” Budden recollected the conversation he had with DJ Envy regarding Cesar Pina’s real estate plans. According to Budden, he and Envy were not in regular communication at the time, making it unusual for Envy to suddenly reach out.
“And he calls me, and starts talking about some real estate shit,” Budden said. “For me, that’s odd. We don’t speak. And now you’re calling me, telling me that your man’s with the government and he could get the buildings.”
Budden elaborated on the conversation, recalling that Envy had mentioned Pina’s association and the potential for Budden, Envy, and even Queen Latifah to be involved in some real estate endeavor, HipHopDX reported.
“And there’s a list and it’ll be me, you, and Queen Latifah — whatever the f–k he was saying, because…I stopped listening at this point. But that just sounded fishy.”
DJ Envy’s Response
DJ Envy has not been charged with any crimes related to Pina’s legal troubles. He has asserted that he was unaware of Pina’s alleged fraudulent activities and that he, too, invested $500,000 in one of Pina’s real estate deals without receiving any returns. Envy’s attorney, Massimo D’Angelo, has stated that his client had no involvement in the specific deals associated with Pina’s alleged scheme.