'Real Housewives of Atlanta' husband charged in federal fraud case

Story highlights

  • Apollo Nida appears on the reality TV series with wife Phaedra Parks
  • Nida allegedly set up fake companies to steal personal info
  • Feds accuse Nida of stealing millions with identify theft
  • Nida spent five years in prison before marrying Parks
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.