Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Park’s ex-convict husband Apollo has been arrested and charged with bank fraud and identity theft, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. District Attorney’s office in Atlanta Thursday.
The U.S. District Judge Gerrilyn G. Brill has since released Nida on a pretrial bond.
For those of you who don’t remember, Apollo was imprisoned from 2004 to 2009 for breaking federal racketeering laws related to auto title fraud.
There isn’t much other information out at this time, but we’ll definitely be keeping you updated.
UPDATE: More information has been obtained, including the official complaint.
Alexandre Herrera, a U.S. Secret Service Agent in the Counterfeit and U.S. Treasury Check Squad, in a written affidavit, charged that Nida created fake companies, enabling him to access databases to find individuals to rip off. He opened fake bank accounts under those real names and funneled stolen U.S. Treasury checks and auto loan proceeds into those accounts.
The agent in February 2012 began investigating alleged criminal activities of Gayla St. Julien, who he said was opening bank accounts under stolen identities to commit bank and check fraud. The investigation ran until September, 2013. At that point, they found 40 bank accounts tied to her. The complaint provided a sampling of bank accounts totaling about $3 million tied to alleged fraudulent activities.
The office also identified two fake debt-collection businesses used to “illicitly obtain personal identifying information of individuals.” The companies used LexisNexis and Equifax database inquiries to steal identities. St. Julien was arrested on Sept. 11, 2013 by the Secret Service. She implicated Nida as the man who orchestrated many of the alleged fraudulent schemes. She had worked with Nida since 2009.
St. Julien “described herself as NIDA’s ‘right hand b****’ in executing the legwork of his fraud schemes,” Herrera wrote. She told him she received “scraps” compared to how much he pocketed.
Nida would allegedly steal real people’s identities and have St. Julien pretend to be them to open bank accounts. She would then deposit fraudulent auto loan checks, stolen U.S. Treasury checks, stolen 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, according to the criminal complaint.
He also opened a fake auto dealership (such as Ferrari Autohaus) and apply for auto loans in the names of stolen identities. After the arrest, the agents had St. Julien tape record conversations with Nida in which he explained many of his schemes. At one point, they obtained a federal search warrant of Nida’s vehicle and seized evidence, including a bank debit card in the name of Ferrari Autohaus Inc., cell phones and a laptop computer.
Whew, lord. We can’t wait to hear what the rest of the housewives have to say about this one!
Sidebar: If we remember correctly, isn’t this one of the crimes that Phaedra’s ex-friend Angela Stanton alleged Apollo (and Phaedra) were involved in?
A little over a year ago, Angela Stanton published a book titled Lies of a Real House Wife: Tell The Truth and Shame The Devil in which she alleges Phaedra Parks was also in on Apollo’s auto title scam, as well as insurance fraud.
She sat down for an exclusive two-part interview with Vibe in which she gave a detailed account of Phaedra Parks’ role in multiple scams and claimed Apollo was involved in various fraudulent activities.
Phaedra then sued both Angela and Vibe. She claimed the book was false and defamatory and demanded a trial by jury along with $5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.
“The false and defamatory accusations were published online to generate interest in, and increase sales of, a subsequently published book that would repeat and expand on the online statements,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit also reads: “While (Parks) recognizes the importance of the role of the media in reporting on public figures, (Stanton) and other members of the media are not granted unfettered right or privilege under the First Amendment to defame public figures by publishing false and defamatory accusations with actual malice.”
As of July, the lawsuit had been postponed. You know what they say — where there’s smoke, there’s a fire. And it’s looking real smoky over here.
[via the Atlanta Journal Constitution]