Apollo Nida gets long prison sentence, steep restitution

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Apollo Nida, the so-called “pretty boy” criminal and estranged husband of Phaedra Parks on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” Tuesday was slapped with a near decade long stint in prison in federal court today resulting from his four-year scheme involving bank, mail and wire fraud and ID theft of more than 50 individuals.

Judge Charless Pannell gave Nida eight years in federal prison — a higher term than he could have handed out because of Nida’s prior record of white collar criminality coupled with the fact that these types of criminals have a higher rate of recidivism, the judge said.

“Today’s sentencing exemplifies impartial justice regardless of economic class or perceived celebrity status.  Nida’s sentence should be an eye opener for other like-minded criminals who scheme to steal victims’ identities, defraud them and ignore the consequences of their actions,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.

Nida, 35, was visibly stunned by the judge’s decision to give a higher prison sentence. Dressed in a tan suit and wearing a beard and mustache, Nida articulated his annoyance.

“The government did what they had to do,” Nida said before leaving the federal courthouse. When asked if he was displeased at the term he has to serve, Nida only said, “Whatever the judge gave.”

Nida is also given five years of supervised release following the prison term and has to fork out over a million dollars in restitution.

Legal analyst will say that Nida got off light. Under the sentencing guidelines, the judge could have given him anywhere from 92 to 115 months. The court agreed to operate from the lower end of the guidelines.

Nida apologized before the court for his behavior. “I want to apologize to the victims,’ he said. “I want to apologize to my family for letting them down.”

Nida was in state prison for six years, from 2003 to 2009, for a RICO charge related to a car theft scheme. Prosecutors and investigators say Nida, incredibly, began his new white-collar criminal enterprise almost as soon as he got out of prison in 2009.

Most telling during the May court appearance, Nida said he reentered the criminal underworld right after getting out of prison because he felt pressure to make money to keep up his wife’s high-profile attorney income and “Real Housewives” salary.

Nida’s attorney Thomas Bever tried to use Nida’s horrific childhood as a way to get the sentence reduced significantly.

Bever even brought in Nida’s mother Katrina Toohey and half brother Michael Derrick as key witnesses to offer poignant testimony. Toohey was wracked with tears when she admitted that she was a bad mother who was addicted to drugs and was physically abused by her boyfriend. After Toohey overdosed on drugs, which Nida witnessed, he was raised by a variety of friends and family members and never enjoyed a stable home environment as a kid.

Not unexpectedly, Nida eventually lost hope in education, dropping out of high school and joined a car theft ring that led him to prison the first time, where he served six years.

But Alana Black, the assistant U.S. attorney, countered that excuse by telling the judge that Nida had his chance to start life anew in 2009 when he got out and married Parks, an attorney with a middle-class income, not to mention her salary from “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

The judge ultimately sided with the prosecution.

Judge Pannell requested that Nida be sent to a prison in proximity to Atlanta so he can be close to his family. Nida has two young sons with Parks.

Bever said after the hearing that Nida could potentially get out more than a year early for good behavior and sent to a halfway house.

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