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'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' star Jen Shah sentenced to 6 and a half years in prison in telemarketing fraud case

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“Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” cast member Jennifer Shah was sentenced Friday to six and a half years in prison in connection with a telemarketing fraud case.

Shah, 49, pleaded guilty in July 2022 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced to forfeit $6.5 million after pleading not guilty. She must also pay damages to victims of the nationwide telemarketing scheme that prosecutors said targeted elderly and vulnerable victims.

Shah, in a camel trouser suit, sat between two lawyers. Her husband, Sharrieff, sat behind her in a slate blue suit. He raised his hand when introduced by defense attorney Priya Chaudhry.

PHOTO: Jennifer Shah arrives in federal court in New York, Friday, January 6, 2023.

Jennifer Shah arrives in federal court in New York, Friday, January 6, 2023. Federal prosecutors are seeking a 10-year prison sentence for “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” member who, they say, lived in luxury after defrauding thousands of people across the country in a telemarketing scam, many of them elderly.

Seth Wenig/AP

Judge Sidney Stein said Shah’s role on the show played no part in the sentencing decision.

“The character your client plays on ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ is simply a character,” Stein told the lawyers. “The ‘Real Housewives’ franchise is all about acting, editing. People must not confuse, and this court will not confuse, the character she plays on an entertainment show with the person I have in front of me.”

“For the rest of Ms. Shah’s life, she will remember their names,” Chaudhry said of the victims. “Ms Shah knows she has devastated the lives of many.”

Stein interrupted the expression of sympathy to ask, “Is she still selling ‘Free Jen’ or ‘Justice for Jen’ merchandise on her website or has that been taken down?” Chaudhry said Shah is no longer selling the items and has saved the money for restitution.

The defense insisted that Shah understood that the victims “had very little to begin with and are now going to fight even harder”, but when Chaudhry said that none of the victims had ever spoken directly to Shah, Stein interrupted.

“Because she was very involved in the conspiracy to deal with the victims,” ​​Stein said. “She was very important. She was a leader. So the fact that she never spoke to a victim works against you.”

Chaudhry said in a statement following her sentencing: “Jen Shah is deeply sorry for the mistakes she has made and deeply sorry for the people she has hurt. Jen has faith in our justice system, understands that anyone who breaks the law will be punished, and accepts this sentence. Jen will pay her debt to society, and when she is a free woman again, she vows to pay her debt to victims harmed by her mistakes.

Federal prosecutors called it “absurd” to portray Shah as merely selling lists for other telemarketers to defraud.

“She’s laughing at text messages talking about defrauding these people,” said Assistant US Attorney Robert Silverman. “It’s not like she just sent someone a computer file.”

Silverman said it was “very difficult” to hear the defense deem Shah self-deceived and somehow unaware of the gravity of her crimes. “It’s been a decade, day in and day out, working hard to defraud people,” said the prosecutor. “This defendant was prolific. She made a lot of money on this scheme.”

Shah admitted that he “struggled to accept responsibility for a long time”, but said he now accepts responsibility for his actions. “I feel it deep and deep,” Shah said.

Silverman was skeptical of Shah’s expressions of remorse: “There is no message that expresses remorse. It’s fair to conclude that this is not how she felt.”

Silverman also spoke about the victims of the fraud. “These are older, vulnerable women whose lives were turned upside down by the defendant’s telemarketing fraud,” he said.

The judge said he was “a little concerned” about the presence of Shah’s manager in court. He warned her against trying to cash in on her crime and instead focus on raising money to repay victims.

“Ms. Shah was an integral part of the scheme,” Stein said. “No victim has ever earned any of the promised returns.”

Shah, through tears, apologized for bringing “shame, embarrassment and pain” to her family and broke down further when she told her youngest son, Omar: “Mummy I’m sorry for the trauma you suffered when you were woken up at gunpoint of a gun.” on the day of his arrest.

PHOTO: Jennifer Shah, center, from

Jennifer Shah, center, of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” reality television show, leaves Manhattan federal courthouse after pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, July 11, 2022, in New York City.

Lawrence Neumeister/AP, ARCHIVE

When Shah promised to “repay every penny,” the judge interrupted to ask, “How do you intend to do that?”

She replied, hesitantly and guided by her lawyer: “I plan that when I get out of prison, I will use my platform and raise the money that way. I hope I can work again.”

Federal prosecutors requested that Shah serve 10 years in prison. The defense said she shouldn’t serve more than three.

“Ms Shah is a good woman who has crossed the line. She accepts full responsibility for her actions and apologizes deeply to all who were harmed. Ms Shah also regrets letting down her husband, children, family, friends and supporters, ” Shah’s defense attorney Priya Chaudhry said in a statement at the time. “Jen pleaded guilty because she wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.”

Federal prosecutors cited Shah’s extravagance in her sentencing memorandum as a reason she deserves a decade in prison.

“Despite the defendant’s best efforts, she was caught. She then went on a public offensive and attempted to cash in on the charges by selling ‘Justice for Jen’ merchandise,” prosecutors wrote. “She pleaded guilty at the last minute, only after receiving government trial evidence and witness statements. In light of her post-arrest conduct and behavior, her belated expressions of remorse ring hollow.”

In December, a judge ordered the reality TV star to forfeit dozens of designer handbags, jewelry and more as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. The 108 items were seized in March 2021 in a search of Shah’s home. The inventory included dozens of fake handbags and jewelry stamped with fake Chanel, Gucci, Bulgari and Hermès labels.