As The Real Housewives of Atlanta drama explodes on screen during the 27-part Reunion, the legal drama of Phaedra Parks’ husband Apollo Nida appears to be heating up off-screen as his alleged co-conspirator Gayla St. Julien is sentenced to 61 months for her part in their bank fraud schemes — and that’s with a reduced sentence thanks to giving up Apollo! Meanwhile, Apollo is still awaiting trial, although that may not happen because he waived his indictment on Monday, which usually means a plea deal is imminent.
In case you missed it, Gayla St. Julien (mug shot photo above) was picked up by the Secret Service back in September after she was caught opening numerous bank accounts under fake names in order to deposit money from 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 who were owed unclaimed property from various state and federal government agencies.
Gayla told the Secret Service that Apollo Nida was the mastermind behind the schemes, and she worked with them to gather evidence against him, including recorded conversations in which Apollo allegedly revealed details about the fraudulent schemes. Officers also obtained a search warrant and seized a laptop, cell phones and a bank debit card in the name of Ferrari Autohaus Inc., one of the fake companies he allegedly used as a front.
Apollo appeared in front of US District Judge Brill in January and he was granted a pretrial bond.
Gayla St. Julien appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, for which she was sentenced to 61 months (5 years plus one month) in prison. And remember, she more than likely received a reduced sentence for helping authorities nab Apollo!
Meanwhile, Apollo waived indictment on Monday — which means the prosecution did not have to prove they had a case by presenting evidence pre-trial. As The Wright Law Offices explained when answering the question “What does it mean when your lawyer wants to waive indictment?” on Yahoo! Answers, “If you waive your right to a grand jury or preliminary hearing, you are basically saying that you agree that the state has enough evidence to move forward to trial without having an independent tribunal first check the prosecutor’s case.” Wright Law then adds, “You may want to waive your right if the prosecutor is offering you a very good plea bargain that you fear will go away if you challenge the evidence.”
It is most everyone’s assumption that this is the case — that Apollo Nida is on the verge of working out a plea deal with the prosecution. But how sweet a deal could he possibly get given that authorities seem to have rock-solid evidence? And how much time is Apollo Nida actually facing?
Aficionapollodos Tamara Tattles summed it up this way:
[Apollo’s] charges prior to Monday were Embezzlement (10 year max) , Bank Fraud (30 year max), Aggravated Identity Theft (automatically adds 2 years to Bank Fraud sentence) , and Conspiracy (from how I read it, it doubles whatever the sentence for Bank Fraud he is given).
Tamara mentions “prior to Monday” because the prosecution presented an amended complaint on Monday which included additional charges against Apollo.
Here’s a summary of the amended charges from another aficionapollodo, Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution:
According to the updated complaint filed this past Monday, Nida created two fake collection agencies to gain access to databases “in order to obtain unlimited access to the personal identifiers of others.”
Allegedly, he then:
– rented dozens of mailboxes at UPS stores and other places under various aliases, including the names of identity theft victims.
– created counterfeit drivers’ licenses and other ID, applied for and received unclaimed funds from state governments impersonating the true owners.
– applied and received refunds due former homeowners from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
– purchased checks, including U.S. Treasury checks, from others knowing they were stolen and fraudulently obtained.
– created fake auto dealerships to obtain auto loan approvals using stolen identities.
– opened personal and business accounts at financial institutions using stolen identities to launder stolen and fraudulently obtained proceeds.
Meanwhile, Phaedra Parks is standing by her man. In a recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen asked Phaedra if she and Apollo were divorcing. “No, I have not filed for divorce, I am still very married… check out the ring,” Phaedra said.
Phaedra later admitted that Apollo’s situation has been a struggle. “Of course it is, but we are where we are. We’ll support him; we are a family, he’s the father of my two beautiful kids,” Phaedra said, before adding, “At the end of the day, I am a Southern belle and I believe in family and I will support him until this is resolved.”
Here’s a clip:
MEANWHILE (again), Apollo Nida will apparently be appearing on The Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion Part 3 in which it is assumed he will talk about the charges pending against him. Given that he is reportedly in the midst of plea bargain negotiations, I doubt we’ll be hearing his usual braggadocio swagger and denials. My guess is that his statements on the matter will be vague and full of false humility.
MEANWHILE, all is silent as far as Phaedra Parks’ legal issues with author Angela Stanton, who claimed in her book that Phaedra Parks was involved in the criminal activities that led to Angela and Apollo’s arrests years ago. Oh, I suppose I should also point out that the prosecution’s amended complaint apparently still makes no mention of Phaedra Parks being connected to Apollo Nida’s most recent criminal activities.
UPDATE – Read Gayla St. Julien’s lengthy statement in which she talks about her relationship with Apollo, why she didn’t name Phaedra Parks, and what she thinks of Angela Stanton’s claims.
OK, now back to megaphones and hair pulling!!