Yesterday Apollo Nida entered a guilty plea for his participation in a money fraud ring. Given that he already has a felony record and plead guilty, it's assured that Apollo will serve time. He was not sentenced yesterday.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star accepted full responsibility for his role in the illegal behaviors, and cited the pressure to 'Keep up with the Leakes' for his decision to return to a life of crime!
Apollo arrived in a cream colored suit (thankfully he didn't wear his RHOA reunion getup!), and accepted full responsibility for his actions. “It’s my fault at the end of the day,” he told Judge Charles Pannell in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
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According to the District Attorney, this is the way in which Apollo conducted his scheme.
"He opened a fake debt collection agency to gain access to databases full of individual’s personal information. He would then steal people’s ID and find unclaimed funds, 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.
Apollo then had Gayla St. Julien, his co-conspirator who is currently serving time, open UPS mailboxes and bank checking accounts using those fake identities, deposit those checks, then pocket the money. He then transitioned to opening fake auto dealerships and getting fraudulent loans for 'phantom cars.'"
During his guilty plea Apollo expressed remorse, “It was a dumb situation I put myself in,” he admitted. Apollo told the court it was his wife's role on RHOA that inspired his return to the criminal community because he felt pressure to earn more financial to afford a lifestyle befitting of reality TV. Um… Who was his financial advisor – Joe Giudice?
Apollo told the court that he felt ashamed that Phaedra was making far more than him with her legal practice and the $600,000 contract she signed with Bravo, so he felt the pressure to "keep up." He attempted to start a legal halfway house for ex-cons, but the business fell through because he was on probation for his prior convictions.
Apollo said his feelings of inadequacy at being a provider led him to have a "nervous breakdown" over pressures to “sustain a lifestyle”. Once he started making money from his schemes, he found it difficult to stop. “I got sucked in and engulfed and lost sight of things,” Apollo acknowledged. I'm guessing he initially did a 'job' for someone else running a racketeering type ring to make quick money, but seeing how much money he made decided to go full-time (just this writer's opinion).
Apologizing to his family and friends, Apollo admitted he did not consider who he was hurting as a result of his illegal activities "because he was primarily targeting private businesses and the government, not individuals. And in the case of unclaimed property, what were the odds these folks would ever claim them?"
Apollo maintains that Phaedra always believed he was legally – and successfully – running a debt collection agency. It is important to note Phaedra has not been charged with any crimes, nor investigated as being part of Apollo's crime ring. Rumor has it the couple is separated.
ADJC reports that Phaedra will return to RHOA for season 7 (which we all knew and expected), which will begin filming this summer. Obviously Apollo will not be on the upcoming season because he will be serving time.
Apollo returns to court for sentencing on July 8 at 2 p.m. And if that date sounds familiar, it's the same day Teresa Giudice and Joe will also return to court for their sentencing related to their fraud case. Safe to say, we Reality Tea writers will be glued to the computers that day.
Apollo faces up to 30 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $1 million on top of restitution for an estimated $2.3 million – the amount he purportedly defrauded from individuals, financial institutions and government agencies. You can read the official government press release about Apollo's crimes here.
Apollo tells Radar Online he hopes his situation inspires people not to turn to crime. “Don’t do as I do, but take my experiences and hope that it will give you a better platform,” he advised. He plans to continue working on his fitness platform and motivating others, presumably until he goes to prison.
Just a suggestion: Bravo needs to do a book of mugshots - there's been so many at this point!
[Photo Credit: Instagram]
TELL US – DID REALITY TV PLAY A ROLE IN APOLLO'S LIFE OF CRIME?