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'RHOA' Personality Pleads Guilty to Bank, Mail & Wire Fraud

Apollo E. Nida, the husband of 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' cast member Phaedra Parks, could be sentenced to prison for up to 30 years.

'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' cast member Phaedra Parks and husband Apollo Nida. Credit: Instagram
'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' cast member Phaedra Parks and husband Apollo Nida. Credit: Instagram
Apollo E. Nida, the husband of 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' cast member Phaedra Parks, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring to commit mail, wire and bank fraud in a complex scheme spanning more than four years, harming more than 50 victims, and causing more than $2.3 million in losses.

Nida entered his plea in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The charges could send Nida, 35, to prison for up to 30 years and result in a fine of up to $1 million on top of restitution for the estimated $2.3 million he allegedly defrauded various individuals, financial institutions and government agencies.

A sentencing hearing has been set for July 8, 2014.

Last month, Nida’s co-conspirator, Gayla St. Julien, received a 61-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Beginning in August 2009, Nida, of Atlanta, and others conspired to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud. The conspirators obtained stolen checks by stealing them or buying them from other criminal associates. The stolen checks involved in the scheme included United States Treasury Checks, as well as checks stolen from the pension fund of Delta Airlines. 

Additionally, the conspirators obtained funds by filing fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service and making fraudulent claims against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and at least eleven states, all in the names of victims whose identities had been stolen. 

Many of these checks were mailed to a large network of mailboxes rented by the conspirators at UPS Stores in the Northern District of Georgia and throughout the nation, for eventual forwarding to the conspirators. The conspirators also obtained fraudulent auto loans secured by vehicles that they had no ownership interest in whatsoever. To convince banks to issue these loans, Nida and his conspirators created fake documents and websites appearing to belong to legitimate auto dealerships.

Once the conspirators obtained the stolen checks, they laundered them through numerous victim financial institutions. Often, the conspirators laundered the checks by opening bank accounts in the names of the payees listed on the face of the checks. This involved impersonating each payee and stealing his or her identity. The conspirators prepared for these impersonations by researching their victims using databases like LexisNexis and Equifax, to which they obtained access through fake collection agencies they had opened as part of the scheme.  Sometimes, the conspirators negotiated checks by laundering them in bulk through accounts which appeared to belong to legitimate businesses, such as one in the name “Signature Tax Collections.”

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a remorseful Nida did provide some context for his actions. Parks joined “RHOA” in 2010 and Nida has been a regular presence on the show ever since.

Nida said he felt pressure to keep up financially with Parks, who was making far more money than he. He cited a $600,000 contract for Parks, but didn’t say how long that contract was to last. Opting for the illegal scheme, Nida told his wife that he was operating a legitimate debt recovery firm and never let her know what was really going on.

As The AJC reports, Nida felt the pressures to “sustain a lifestyle” befitting of a reality show star. Due in part to such, he couldn’t stop the scheme, stating, “I got sucked in and engulfed and lost sight of things.”

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” concluded its season with a third reunion show this past Sunday with a best-ever reunion rating of 4.3 million viewers.

Bob Vey May 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM
Oh no!!! Don't take any responsibility for yourself. Blame it on other people or circumstances beyond your control. It sounds like a very well organized operation to me. Don't feel sorry for him or her, feel sorry for all the people who's ID's they stole. People who's credit they messed up.
Fran Armstrong May 30, 2014 at 07:40 PM
I hope he's put away for a very long time. Most of us do with a lot less than what he has. Being greedy is not a legal excuse.
pompeybisc8@aol.com June 05, 2014 at 01:01 PM
Phraedra ,will soon be looking elsewhere for a husband.
Jane Doh June 09, 2014 at 10:14 PM
Phaedra met him while he was incarcerated and waited for his release. She will wait again. I find it very hard to believe she knew nothing of this. He entered a business but didn't have his attorney wife look over any papers? Did she turn a blind eye BC he's her arm candy? Phaedra isn't dumb so why act it now except for to cover her ass? That's a lot of donkey to cover lol
Tiffany July 13, 2014 at 12:18 PM
Maybe Kenya will come visit him

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