- The drama is real for "Real Housewives of Atlanta" co-star Phaedra Parks, whose husband faces charges in a fraud scheme that a federal agent says stole millions of dollars.
Apollo Nida, who appears on the reality TV series with Parks, was arrested last week following a year-long investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, according to the criminal complaint.
Nida, who served five years in a federal prison for auto title fraud before marrying Parks in 2009, allegedly set up several fake collection companies as part of the scheme, Special Agent Alexandre Herrera said in a sworn affidavit.
But the only thing the collection companies collected was the personal information of people that Nida used to get fraudulent auto loans, according to the complaint.
The break in the case came in September, when federal investigators arrested Gayla St. Julein, a woman who "described herself as Nida's 'right hand b****' in executing the legwork of his fraud schemes," the complaint said.
St. Julien, who previously served prison time for identity theft, told agents that Nida "only paid her 'scraps'" for her work, compared to the amount of money he made from the fraud schemes," the filing said.
She turned on him and agreed to let agents record their phone calls, it said.
Nida "knowingly and willfully execute and attempt to execute a scheme to defraud federally insured financial institutions by depositing stolen and fraudulently obtained checks and fraudulently obtained auto loan proceeds into bank accounts opened in the stolen identities of real persons, and conspire with others to do so, and knowingly convert to his use and the use of others stolen and fraudulently obtained United States Treasury Checks," Agent Herrera said.
Nida's fake companies fraudulently signed up with "LexisNexis, Equifax, and Mircrobilt databases" to steal personal information on people.
Along with the fraudulent auto loan checks, Nida stole U.S. Treasury checks, "retirement checks issued to Delta Airlines employees, and checks in the names of real people that were owed unclaimed property from various state and federal government agencies," the complaint said.
Agents recorded phone calls St. Julien made to Nida during which he discussed details of pending fraudulent auto loans and "details of future auto loan checks that he was expecting to receive any day now from in the mail," the affidavit said.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
What were you doing last night? Were you watching the country’s biggest recording artists perform on one stage? Or did you turn the dial to the Bachelor Wedding to watch Born-Again-Sean take Quirky Catherine as his lawfully wedded wife? Maybe you were catching up on some personal work, doing some light filing. Not me. I’ve got my priorities way in line. I was watching a bunch of grown ass men and women in satin robes and corsets go after each other like they were starring in Mortal Combat: Pajama Party.
And I wasn’t alone; during the Grammys, pretty much the biggest event in music all year, amongst Katy Perry and #PharrellsHat, was “RHOA,” nestled snugly in worldwide Twitter trends. Because if there’s one thing people love as much as awards shows, it’s FISTICUFFS. And those were out in spades last night on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, erupting in the most physical fight this show has ever seen. Good-Ness, that was a messy hour of television.
But before we get to the potential felony charges of the evening, a few less violent plot points: Kenya goes with her Aunt Lori to the fertility doctor and finds out that her hormone levels are fine to have a baby but her ovarian reserve is diminished. The doctor gives her some hope though that she can still have a baby naturally, and even innocently mentions that people have “turkey baster parties.” WOMAN! Don’t you know who you’re talking to? In this episode alone, this cast is throwing a presidential inauguration party for a 10-month-old and a pajama party for adult couples -- they really don’t need any more ideas.
Kenya ditches Lori and grabs Miss Lawrence to go to the fertility clinic and totally appropriately ask the receptionist for free lube while they wait to meet with the consultants. It still ranks in the top three most charming things that happened all episode. One of the sperm consultants -- not a phrase I thought I’d type today! -- asks Kenya what she might hope for in a sperm donor and she starts listing qualities like, “funny, affectionate, no body odor…full lips, a slender nose,” and it suddenly becomes clear that Kenya thinks she’s creating a Match.com profile.
In the somehow most normal event of the night, Phaedra throws her son Dylan aka Mr. President a party for his church dedication. Her party planner Dwight has returned, looking even more taut than the last time we saw him, to help her plan the inaugural affair, complete with a Secret Agent flash mob dance, a British announcer declaring the Parks-Nida family’s every move, and a very sweet blessing from Mr. President’s grandmother, Pastor Regina. I just wish the whole hour had been about Ayden’s sudden discovery of the drums. I imagine he’s already receiving calls from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
For what feels like forever, Nene has been planning this party for her friends called “Pillow Talk.” She says, “It’s almost like a free couple’s counseling…in pajamas.” First, I assure you that it is nothing like that; second, no one is wearing anything that could remotely be considered pajamas; and third, that sounds like an awful, awful idea for a party. You see, Nene’s goal is to get everyone together so they can “talk to each other and move on.” And the way she sees best fit to do that, in a time where everyone is making accusations about everyone else’s marriages, is to get all of the couples together, trap them in a Holiday Inn Express, and publicly question them about their sex lives.