Apollo Nida sentenced to eight years for bank fraud, ID theft

Apollo Nida, the husband of Phaedra Parks on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," Tuesday received an eight-year sentence by a federal court judge for his four-year scheme involving bank, mail and wire fraud and ID theft of more than 50 individuals to the tune of  an estimated $2 million.

Judge Charles Pannell, under sentencing guidelines, could have given him anywhere from 92 to 115 months. The government was okay with the lower end of those guidelines. Pannell went slightly above the 92 months partly because white collar criminals of his ilk tend to have a high rate of recidivism, Pannell said on the stand.

Nida, dressed in a tan suit and wearing a beard and mustache thicker than seen on the television show, questioned the slightly harsher 96-month sentence to the judge and appeared annoyed after the hearing. “The government did what they had to do,” Nida said before entering the elevator the downtown federal courthouse. When asked if he was unhappy about the sentence, he said, “Whatever the judge gave.”

"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, in a press release.

Nida's attorney Thomas Bever attempted to get the sentence reduced due to Nida's poor upbringing but Pannell felt that was not a big enough factor given Nida's age (35).

Pannell did recommend that Nida be placed close to Atlanta for the benefit of his family, which includes two young sons with Parks. Parks, who Bever said at a previous hearing was not involved in the scheme, did not attend the sentencing.

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.

Before the judge, Nida said he was sorry again for his behavior, as he did in May during the last hearing. “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. He began his new white-collar criminal actions soon after he got out of prison in 2009. During his May sentencing, he took full responsibility for his actions but said he did it because he felt pressure to make money to keep up his wife’s high-profile attorney income and “Real Housewives” salary.