Every predator seeks out a target’s vulnerabilities to exploit the prey’s weaknesses for personal gain.
Our pride in our identity and love for those within our group are exactly a point of weakness predators will use to infiltrate our circle and siphon our goodwill.
But the bigger the operation, the more the predator needs either a willing accomplice or a useful idiot to succeed.
Real-estate investor Cesar Pina found his: His business partner DJ Envy touted him as a mogul on Envy’s iHeartRadio show, “The Breakfast Club.”
DJ Envy claimed he wanted to uplift black people but recklessly promoted a convicted con man who’s been arrested for bilking people out of their life savings — and has no apologies.
The feds have charged Pina in what they say is a multimillion-dollar Ponzi-like real-estate-investment fraud scheme.
“Pina exploited celebrity status and social media to develop a devoted following of potential victims. Promising returns that were too good to be true, Pina allegedly defrauded dozens of people of millions of dollars,” stated New Jersey’s US attorney.
An FBI agent said Pina allegedly “offered a ridiculously high rate of return to investors, then took the millions he got and invested it in himself.”
The fraud began in 2017; Pina supposedly intended to buy, remodel and sell specific properties promising investors enticing returns between 20% and 45%.
Many are questioning the culpability of Pina’s celebrity business partner, DJ Envy (real name RaaShaun Casey), as he frequently appeared with Pina on social media while flaunting Pina’s ability to turn real estate in economically depressed areas into profitable juggernauts for their targeted black and Hispanic would-be investors.
“Cesar? If he took money, I wasn’t privy to it nor did I even know,” DJ Envy told his co-host, Charlamagne tha God, on air. “But I do understand how people feel if they did give him money because I gave him a lot of money that I didn’t see a dollar of returned. But for anybody to say I was involved, that is totally not true. I would never.”
Pina’s victims were already fooled once (shame on Pina).
Now DJ Envy thinks these victims are gullible enough to believe Pina’s business partner and spokesman for this financial treachery had not even a hint of suspicion of any bad business at hand.
Envy’s narrative of complete ignorance of any foul play while being nearly joined at the hip with Pina for years is as believable as Ghislaine Maxwell claiming she had no idea what Jeffrey Epstein was up to.
Envy would have us think that despite having an office next to his partner’s, he never saw or heard an angry investor stomp into Pina’s office after being given a check that bounced for tens of thousands of dollars.
We’re supposed to believe that throughout this entire alleged Ponzi scheme, Envy never had any suspicion as to the properties that were supposed to be remodeled or even purchased that never were.
Those truly victims of a criminal’s manipulation, like Envy claims to be, are typically empathetic, apologetic and regretful for their unintended role in defrauding others when the truth comes to light.
But Envy’s instinct is to defend Pina while simultaneously distancing himself from Pina’s activities.
Social-media influencer Tony The Closer spent months allowing Ponzi-scheme victims tell their stories while showing proof of misconduct.
Yet when he explained how an investor only made the deal after shaking the hand of Envy and trusting Envy’s involvement, the radio host’s responses were “I greet everyone that comes into the office” and “I’m not anyone’s babysitter.”
No empathy, apology or regret.
Envy had an opportunity to talk about being defrauded himself by Pina on Tony The Closer’s Instagram Live.
Instead, Envy summarized their transactional dealings thus: “Some have been great, some haven’t been. When people invest money, sometimes it goes like this.”
Doesn’t sound like the verbiage of a financial-crime victim, does it?
Envy has one of the largest media platforms in the country, but when the time came to address this situation, he chose to focus on himself, not the people who were hurt by the man he platformed.
Envy gave a convicted (of fraud) felon access to his audience and openly discussed Pina’s criminal record as being part of his story arc for redemption but takes no accountability for introducing a predator to the very people he claims to care about.
Envy wants us to believe he was a useful idiot in this scheme, especially now that the feds have confiscated iHeartRadio equipment and are looking into his involvement.
But I’ll always go back to the old saying: You are the friends that you keep.
Adam B. Coleman is the author of “Black Victim to Black Victor” and founder of Wrong Speak Publishing. Follow him on Substack: adambcoleman.substack.com.