As one of the stars of Real Housewives of Atlanta Phaedra Parks is used to dealing with plenty of drama on screen. But away from the cameras the celebrity lawyer and aspiring mortician finds herself at the center of a firestorm after the arrest of her ex-con husband on identity theft and fraud charges.
Now, her husband and father of her two young children, faces a jail term of 30 years if convicted. As 44-year-old Parks has made such a outward demonstration on the show how close she is to her former jailbird husband many fans have been left to ponder if she knew what was going on. There is no suggestion Parks is part of the fraud alleged to have been carried out by her husband. But Secret Service agents who arrested Nida have made it very clear they have ‘other targets’.
Nida is accused of setting up a series of fake companies so that he could access data from credit rating agencies. He then supplied his alleged accomplice Gayla St. Julien details of their names and social security numbers allowing her to obtain auto loans.
St. Julien is alleged to have assumed the identities of up to ten women to secure loans that were then paid into as many as 40 different bank accounts.
Nida is also accused of paying U.S. Postal employees to steal 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 has been charged with aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, embezzlement and theft and conversion of public money.
A source connected to the investigation told MailOnline said that Nida was recorded in great detail talking about his alleged criminal enterprise with his alleged co-conspirator Gayla St. Julien.
The source would not say if Phaedra Parks was mentioned on the tape where St. Julien, seen below, and Nida allegedly discuss how they are going to get another fake auto loan.
St Julien,44, agreed to record Nida as part of a plea deal that will see her get a reduced sentence. She has already pleaded guilty to identity theft charges and faces between two and seven years. Nida, however, is facing a much greater sentence of up to 30 years if convicted. ‘Apollo goes into great detail and it is all on tape’, said a legal source connected to the case. ‘He talks about a lot of people. Those names can’t be revealed yet as the investigation in ongoing. ‘Other arrests are likely to be made. The alleged fraud scheme was elaborate and did not just involve two people.’
‘I cannot see how she can remain out of it,’ said Angela Stanton. ‘Where did she think her husband go all his money from? He didn’t have a job but on the TV show boasted about spending thousands of dollars at strip joints’. In 2012 Stanton, 36, published a tell all book called Lies of a Real Housewife: Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil about her friendship with Parks. Stanton, who served a year in jail for her part in the auto theft ring, sensationally claimed Parks was involved.
Parks was never suspected of any crime and was not charged. She has sued Stanton for $30 million claiming her book is defamatory and libelous. Despite the impending trial the book is still available on Amazon and Stanton takes every opportunity to plug it during radio and TV appearances.
Stanton has counter-sued Parks for what her lawyer James Radford calls ‘frivolous litigation’. The case is due to go to trial later this year although it could be delayed after Park’s lawyers dropped out following the arrest of her husband. Parks is understood to have already been interviewed by Secret Service agents who visited her home and removed a laptop computer belonging to her husband.
Not only is Nida facing decades in jail if found guilty but we’ve learned his arrest has put her latest reality show in jeopardy.
Parks is due to star in a spin off show later this year called Rich People’s Problems. The show was to focus on Park’s legal career in the Atlanta area where she bills herself as a ‘super sassy but always classy attorney to the stars’.
She represented Bobby Brown during his 2004 trial for assaulting his then wife Whitney Houston as well as providing legal counsel to rap stars. But a source at Bravo, who produce the Real Housewives series, said the series could be placed on hold while TV chiefs wait to see the outcome of what happens to her husband. ‘All options are being looked at’, said an executive with Bravo TV. Parks has not made any public comment on her husband’s arrest and court appearance last month. He was released on $25,000 bail and has another court appearance next month after successfully asking the judge to postpone his hearing from this week.
The couple have two young sons, Aidan, 3, and Dylan 11 months.