NEW: Apollo Nida posted a video just before walking into prison early Thursday
There was "an incident" with Nida at his Atlanta home, his wife's publicist says
Nida was ordered to report to a federal prison in Kentucky on Wednesday
His fraud scheme stole millions from at least 50 people over four years, a prosecutor says
“Real Housewives of Atlanta” husband Apollo Nida has reported to prison to start an eight-year federal sentence for a fraud conviction, despite a side trip to have a final word with his wife.
Nida was still in Atlanta at the home he shared with his wife, “Real Housewives” co-star Phaedra Parks, on Wednesday after the noon deadline that U.S. marshals gave him to turn himself in to the minimum-security federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky.
Park’s publicist, Steve Honig, who was at the home when Nida arrived Wednesday afternoon, told CNN “there was an incident” around 4 p.m., although he declined to give details on the record.
A source who witnessed the incident told CNN that Nida came to the house because he was upset that Parks would not deposit money into his prison account. The source asked not to be identified.
Nida, 35, eventually checked into prison as inmate 65725-019, prison spokesman Kenny Coleman said Thursday. Inmate privacy rules prevented the spokesman for disclosing details about what time Nida arrived.
“I can tell you that he is here,” Coleman said.
However, Nida posted a message on his Twitter account early Thursday saying “I would like to say thanks 4 everyone’s support & thanks 4 holding me in prayer I’ve arrived 2 my destination and I’m going asunder”
He also posted a video on his Instagram account with a similar message that apparently was recorded just before turning himself in at the prison.
Nida’s lawyer did not respond to CNN calls about Nida’s status.
Parks, a lawyer and reality TV star, would not comment on the record about tabloid reports that she was upset that Nida ignored his children and spent much of his time drinking in clubs during his last weeks of freedom.
“Phaedra is now putting all of her energy into ensuring the well-being of her two children and making decisions that are in their best interests,” her publicist said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday. “This situation has put a tremendous strain on Phaedra and her family, and she is working hard to bring back a sense of normalcy to everyone’s lives.”
Nida, who appears on the reality TV series with Parks, was arrested in January and pleaded guilty in May to charges in a fraud scheme that federal prosecutors say stole millions of dollars from at least 50 people over four years.
He must serve five years under parole supervision after he completes his eight years in a federal prison, U.S. District Court Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr. ordered at his sentencing in July.
This is the second prison stint for Nida, who served five years in a federal prison for auto title fraud before marrying Parks in 2009.
In the most recent case, Nida created two fake collection companies to gather personal information used to steal victims’ identities, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said after his sentencing in Atlanta. He used the information to get fraudulent auto loans in the names of his victims, according to the criminal complaint.
The break in the case came in September, when federal investigators arrested Gayla St. Julien, a woman who “described herself as Nida’s ‘right hand b—-’ in executing the legwork of his fraud schemes,” the criminal 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 (did) 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,” Special Agent Alexandre Herrera said in a sworn affidavit.
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.