Apollo Nida, husband of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Phaedra Parks, has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
Nida's sentence will also include restitution to the victims of the $2 million bank, mail, and wire fraud scheme Nida was convicted of perpetrating, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
What was Nida's scheme, and how did the judge calculate the eight-year sentence?
Fake Companies, Fraudulent Loans, Real Checks
Nida's criminal enterprise involved using two fake companies to compile personal information on victims for use in identity theft, reports CNN. He used victims' personal information to obtain fraudulent loans in victims' names, as well as to cash checks fraudulently obtained from the government and deposited into fake bank accounts in the victims' names.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Nida could have been sentenced to as much as 115 months (more than nine and a half years) in prison, but the judge chose to give him a sentence near the lower end of the suggested guidelines.
How do judges decide what kind of sentence is appropriate?
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 decision in United States v. Booker, federal sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory. Instead, they're merely suggestions that judges can choose to follow.
In deciding the severity of the sentence, a judge will typically consider factors such as:
- The defendant's criminal history,
- The extent of the defendant's role in the crime,
- The defendant's mental state at the time the crime was committed, and
- The severity of any injuries inflicted by the defendant.
In issuing the 96-month (eight-year) sentence, Judge Charles Pannell noted that he was going with a sentence slightly more severe than the recommended minimum of 92 months, because of the high rate of recidivism for white collar crimes such as bank and wire fraud.
The judge did agree to allow Nida to be placed near Atlanta for the benefit of his family, which includes two children with Parks. But after his federal prison sentence is complete, Nida will also have to serve five years under parole supervision, CNN reports.
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