New Bail Restrictions for DJ Envy Associate After Feds Find Gun at His Home

Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

A New Jersey associate of radio host DJ Envy, who is charged in an alleged multimillion-dollar real-estate Ponzi scheme, was hit with new bail restrictions on Wednesday after federal investigators found a firearm at his home.

While executing a search warrant at Cesar Pina’s home on Tuesday, investigators found a 9mm Glock—with a full magazine—“under a pile of clothes in his main bedroom,” Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn Silane said at a hearing. She added that they also found “other gun items,” including a rifle magazine and shotgun rounds.

Prosecutors said the discovery is concerning considering Pina is an ex-convict who has been out on a $1 million bond since October for allegedly bilking dozens of clients who invested money to join his property portfolio. After he was hit with one count of wire fraud, Pina and his wife told the court there were no firearms in the home. Silane also argued that Pina violated his bond conditions by continuing to engage in real estate transactions and contacting witnesses in his ongoing case.

“Tagging someone on social media is contact,” Silane said on Wednesday while arguing for additional bail conditions against Pina.

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Prosecutors allege that in 2017, Pina “partnered with a celebrity disc jockey and radio personality to conduct real estate seminars around the country.” As previously reported by The Daily Beast, victims of the alleged scam say they were recruited through real-estate seminars that were co-hosted by The Breakfast Club’s DJ Envy—and that they would not have invested with Pina without the celebrity endorsement.

Pina allegedly promised clients a 20 to 45 percent return within five months and then “engaged in a Ponzi-like scheme wherein he commingled victim investors’ money and used victim investors' investments to pay off prior investors and cover personal expenditures,” prosecutors allege. DJ Envy has not been charged with any crime but has been named in lawsuits by people who invested with Pina. He has denied any knowledge of Pina’s alleged misdeeds.

Pina’s defense attorney, Gerald Krovatin, explained in court Wednesday that the found firearm is legally owned by his client’s wife and was previously kept at an apartment the couple rented nearby. He added that Pina, who once had 307,000 followers on his “Flipping NJ” Instagram account, has not been on social media since December and was unaware that his actions could be perceived as contacting witnesses.

Krovatin provided the court with text messages between Pina and a witness that showed his client only responded to the witnesses’ texts to be nice while prosecutors insisted that he was violating his conditions. The real-estate activity is simply a result of Pina’s ongoing bankruptcy case, the lawyer said.

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Magistrate Judge Edward Kiel agreed with prosecutors, ordering that Pina is now barred from having any firearms at any residence, and must seek approval from the court if he wants to go back on social media or get an additional bank account or line of credit. The judge also previously restricted Pina in New Jersey and ordered him to wear a GPS ankle monitor.

The United States Attorney’s Office and lawyers for Pina declined to comment. A lawyer for DJ Envy did not respond for comment.

Before the hearing, The Daily Beast briefly spoke with Pina, who arrived at the courthouse with his wife. He said he was “doing ok” but did not want to speak about the case without his attorney present. When asked about the reason behind the bond hearing, he theorized it was about “social media nonsense.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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