The Real Housewives of Atlanta's Apollo Nida pleaded guilty to charges of mail, wire and bank fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
He could be going to jail for a long, long time.
Apollo Nida's crimes could land him in prison for up to 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million on top of restitution for an estimated $2.3 million he allegedly defrauded.
His co-conspirator Gayla St. Julien, who said Nida ran the show and helped turn him in after she was arrested, has received a sentence of 61 months last month.
Nida will be sentenced on July 8 at 2 p.m.
The assistant U.S. attorney said Apollo opened a fake debt collection agency to gain access to databases full of individuals' personal information.
He would then steal people’s ID and find unclaimed funds, refunds from HUD, stolen treasury checks and refunds from fraudulent U.S. income tax returns.
Nida had St. Julien open UPS mailboxes and bank checking accounts using those fake identities, deposit those checks, then pocket the money.
So why would he do it when he's already well taken care of by wife Phaedra Parks? Partly for that reason, he said in court. The pressure to keep up was intense!
Nida said he takes “full responsibility for my actions” and expressed regret for hurting his family and any individuals and institutions affected by his fraud.
“It was a dumb situation I put myself in,” he said.
In 2009, Nida had just left prison after five years for racketeering charges related to auto title fraud. He and Phaedra Parks, a prominent attorney, married.
He said she was making far more than him and he felt pressure to keep up. Without easy legitimate ways to make quick money, he opted for this scheme.
He said he even had a nervous breakdown at one point over the pressures to “sustain a lifestyle ... I got sucked in and engulfed and lost sight of things,” he said.
But he claimed to her he was running a legitimate debt recovery firm and kept her firmly in the dark. And once he started the scheme, he found it difficult to stop.
Nida said he often didn’t think about whether this was hurting anybody because he was primarily targeting businesses and the government, not individuals.
“It’s my fault at the end of the day,” he said.
Since Nida is not expected to go to prison until July, when you watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta next season, this will definitely play out on Bravo.