NJ real estate influencer charged in Ponzi scheme

Cesar Pina allegedly bilked investors out of millions

New Jersey Real Estate Influencer Charge in Ponzi Scheme

New Jersey real estate investor and influencer Cesar Pina (Getty, Cesar Pina)

New Jersey real estate investor and influencer got his day in court on Wednesday, after months of allegations against him.

Cesar Pina was arrested for allegedly engaging in a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey announced. He was charged with one count of wire fraud and released on $1 million bond with electronic monitoring.

Pina and a celebrity radio personality partnered on real estate seminars across the country to help Pina build up a large social media following, according to the announcement. The radio personality isn’t named in the documents, but previous reports have suggested Power 105.1’s DJ Envy was Pina’s business partner.

In 2017, Pina began taking investments from alleged victims to purchase, remodel and sell real estate projects primarily in New Jersey, according to the Justice Department. Pina allegedly promised 20- to 45-percent returns within five months. 

Instead, Pina failed to use the investments as promised, according to the charges. He allegedly lured new victim investments to pay prior victims and spend lavishly on himself.

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“Promising returns that were too good to be true, Pina allegedly defrauded dozens of people of millions of dollars,” U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger said in a statement.

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The tables turned for Pina months ago when a pair of investors filed a lawsuit accusing Cesar and Jennifer Pina along with The Breakfast Club’s DJ Envy of defrauding the investors out of $1.5 million for an apartment project that never materialized. They accused the trio of taking off with their combined investment for projects including a 50-unit development in Paterson.

Pina faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

DJ Envy did not immediately comment in the aftermath of Pina’s arrest, but previously defended the real estate seminars as an opportunity to uplift the community, according to NBC New York. Federal officials reportedly removed electronic equipment from iHeartRadio offices as part of the investigation.