Actress Jen Shah, Of “Real Housewives: Last Friday, a federal judge handed Real Housewife of Salt Lake City Jen Shah a 78-month (or 6.5-year) prison sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The case against Shah has lasted almost two years, beginning with his arrest in early 2021, and culminating with his sentencing on April 4, 2022. On February 17, 2023, Shah will report to prison to begin serving her time, and she will be subject to five years of supervised release afterward.
Before she admitted to being a wire fraudster, Shah had made a name for herself on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. She became famous by showing off her wealth on screen and picking fights with the other cast members, most notably with ex-Housewife Mary Cosby, whom she referred to as a “grandpa fucker” (Cosby married her step-grandfather and has a child by him).
Cosby claimed during their season-long feud that Shah had a “hospital smell.” And with that, Bravo had a delirious first season hit on its hands. But the accusations against Shah are more serious than those seen on a Bravo reality show.
Authorities say, and Shah admitted, that she used telemarketing to target and defraud unwitting strangers, many of whom were older and living off their savings.
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In his remarks at the sentencing, Assistant US Attorney Robert Sobelman said that Shah had shown no remorse for the victims she had defrauded, citing an incident in which Shah had allegedly mocked an 80-year-old victim in front of the other defendants. For every victim Sobelman ridiculed, she claimed there were “thousands” more just like them.
According to statements made by Shah and her lawyer Priya Chaudhry, Shah has experienced a change of heart. According to Chaudhry, after hearing from the victims, Shah realized just how much fraud and damage she had committed.
Television personality Shah claimed that her “Shah-mazing” moniker and other aspects of her TV persona were completely created by Bravo. Moreover, Shah gave the impression that she wanted the judge to treat her scheme with more tolerance because she is an immigrant.
The only real thing about “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” is that one of them was in charge of a scam that defrauded vulnerable people
Nothing more authentically Utah than that 🎯 https://t.co/ZfdhdJooPV
— Kate Kelly (@Kate_Kelly_Esq) January 7, 2023
She began her statement with “I stand before you as an immigrant from Tonga and Hawaii,” (Hawaii is a US state), and went on to say that she had committed crimes against the elderly, which were considered particularly offensive in both her native culture and the culture of the United States.
“The principles are humility and loyalty and respect. It has finally dawned on me that I have disregarded these. In advance, please accept my apologies. As a result of my actions, innocent people have suffered. Jen Shah isn’t the first criminal to be sentenced, nor will she be the last.
There are, however, a few factors that make her argument stand out: For one, she follows in the footsteps of fellow Real Housewife Teresa Giudice and Chrisley Knows Best stars Todd and Julie Chrisley, who have both broken the law while appearing on their respective reality shows and been sentenced to jail time as a result.
But while others have been rung up on charges from DUIs and assault to tax and bankruptcy fraud, Shah stands out for running a criminal conspiracy with unwitting elderly victims. And she allegedly did it both before and while Bravo was filming.
‘In her tagline for the second season of the show, she declared, “The only thing I’m guilty of is being Shah-mazing.”
— Andrew LaVallee (@andrewlavallee) January 6, 2023
The Crime For Which Jen Shah Was Found Guilty And Sentenced
It’s been over a year since Shah’s case began. When Shah and her “assistant,” Stuart Smith, were arrested in March 2021 (during filming, and more on this in a bit), they were both casts in the show. Two of the suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
This occurred “in connection with telemarketing and conspiracy to commit money laundering,” per the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The term wire fraud refers to the act of using a phone or the internet to commit financial fraud.
— Julia B. Chan (@juliachanb) January 6, 2023
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Shah sold lists of victims to her “scheme” participants, most of whom preyed on the elderly. Through telemarketing, Shah and her cohort would promise these individuals business opportunities, but after the victims handed over their cash, those opportunities never materialized.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, the web was complex and widespread, spanning multiple states. Initial interest was sparked by a network of sales floors in states like Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
It has been revealed that the owners and operators of those sales floors worked in tandem with other telemarketing sales floors in the New York and New Jersey area, including in Manhattan, sharing lead lists and aiding in the fight against victim refund requests.
In addition to 6.5 year sentence “Shah was also ordered to forfeit $6.5 million, make restitution of $6.64 million, surrender 30 luxury items, 78 counterfeit luxury items and be subject to five years of supervised release once she gets out.” https://t.co/on5cJ3prz3
— Emily Guskin (@EmGusk) January 6, 2023
A month later, in April of 2021, Shah entered a not-guilty plea. In November of that year, Smith admitted guilt. Throughout the following year, including during the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City reunion episodes that aired in March 2022, Shah steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.
This all changed during a court hearing later that year, when Shah pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on July 11. NBC reports that Shah has agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and pay up to $9.5 million in restitution.
Shah told the judge, “I agreed with others to commit wire fraud from 2012 to March 2021 in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere.” “I knew this was wrong. I knew many people were harmed and I’m so sorry.”
A thirty-year prison sentence was possible for Shah. During that July hearing, she said she would not appeal if the sentence was for 14 years or less.