Apollo Nida, husband of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Phaedra Parks, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty in May to identity theft and fraud.
He was also ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution.
In a four-year scheme, Nida opened a phony debt-collection agency to get access to personal information, the Associated Press said. Stolen identities would then be used to collect unclaimed property or get money from various government agencies, including the IRS and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
More than 50 people were victimized, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nida surrendered to authorities in January after partner-in-crime Gayla St. Julien implicated him in their fraudulent schemes. St. Julien was sentenced in April to 61 months behind bars.
The judge said he ordered a few months more than the minimum 92-month sentence Tuesday because Nida’s type of white-collar criminal has a high recidivism rate, the AP reported.
He seems to have based that assumption on fact: Nida went off the ranch, legally speaking, shortly after his November 2009 marriage to Parks. In May of that year, he’d been paroled after serving five years of an 18-year federal sentence for racketeering related to auto-title fraud. Also, according to a 2011 post from Jezebel, which cited court records, Nida has a long arrest record on other assorted charges under assorted names.
When he entered his guilty pleas in the current case, he told the court that he’d turned back to crime so quickly because he felt pressure to keep up with a lawyer wife who, as a newly signed reality-TV star, was making much more money than he was, the AP said.
Not as if he’s the first person in the “Real Housewives” franchise to commit fraud: “Real Housewives of New Jersey” players Joe and Teresa Giudice took a plea deal in March, admitting to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud. They’re scheduled to be sentenced in September.
Unlike the Giudices, Nida said he kept his wife in the dark while trying to “sustain a lifestyle” appropriate to their situation, he told the court in May.
Insult to injury: The reality-TV guy lost a house to auction that same month, Radar Online reported Monday. Seems he’d neglected to pay his taxes.