Apollo plead guilty to charges of mail, wire and bank fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on Tuesday.
He sat in court wearing a light-colored plaid jacket (see drawing rendered below) and accepted charges that could land him in prison for close to three decades, and a fine of up to $1 million on top of restitution for an estimated $2.3 million; which he allegedly defrauded from various individuals, financial institutions and government agencies.
Judge Charles Pannell has set the sentencing hearing for July 8 at 2 p.m.
Alana Black, the assistant U.S. attorney, revealed Nida’s scheme in detail to Judge Pannell. She told him that Nida opened a fake debt collection agency to gain access to databases full of people’s confidential information. He then stole people’s ID and located unclaimed funds such as refunds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, stolen U.S. treasury checks and refunds from fraudulent U.S. income tax returns.
Nida had his co-conspirator, St. Julien, open UPS mailboxes and bank checking accounts using the fake identities; then she deposited the checks and they pocketed the money.
Nida also created fake auto dealerships and then got auto loans for phantom cars.
St. Julien was caught by the U.S. Secret Service – who was working with the state consumer protection agency prior to the agency’s ability to procure Nida’s laptop – which had oodles of evidence that he could not refute.
Nida said in court that 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 an attempt to justify the actions he took, he said after leaving prison following a five year sentence in 2009 for federal racketeering charges related to auto title fraud, he married Parks, who soon after signed on to be part of “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
Because she was making more money than him (he cited a $600,000 contract for her but didn’t say how long that was supposed to last) he felt pressure to maintain his end of the deal. But had no resources to do it legally and opted for this illegal scheme instead.
He said Parks had no idea of his illegal actions as he claimed to her he was running a legitimate debt recovery firm and kept her firmly in the dark.