Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah, pleaded guilty for her role in a fraudulent multi-state telemarketing scheme in a NYC court on Monday, July 11, 2022.
The reality star, 48, entered a guilty plea in Manhattan federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing through which she victimized 10 or more persons over the age of 55.
“From 2012 to March 2021 in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere I agreed with others to commit wire fraud,” Shah told U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein of the scheme, which was run in six states over 10 years. “I did this by knowingly providing customer names to people who were marketing business services that had little or no value.”
She admitted, “I knew this was wrong. I know many people were harmed and I am so sorry.”
Shah will be sentenced on Nov. 28 and the count carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. However, her plea agreement with federal prosecutors called for a sentence of anywhere between 11 to 14 years in prison. The judge ultimately determines the sentence.
As part of the plea deal, Shah will also forfeit $6.5 million and pay restitution up to $9.5 million.
“Jennifer Shah was a key participant in a nationwide scheme that targeted elderly, vulnerable victims,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “These victims were sold false promises of financial security but instead Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings and left them with nothing to show for it. This Office is committed to rooting out these schemes whatever form they take.”
Shah, an original RHOSLC cast member, was arrested in March 2021 — along with her assistant, Stuart Smith — for the telemarketing scheme that duped people in New York and several other states to invest in an online “business opportunity” and sold them tax preparation or website design services even though many didn’t even own computers. She originally pleaded not guilty and her trial was to begin on July 18.
Smith pleaded guilty in November. Prosecutors said last week that Smith would testify against Shah at trial.
Shah’s legal situation has been a storyline on the Bravo show. The spin-off premiered in 2020 and Shah flashed her wealth from the start. During the Season 1 reunion, executive show producer Andy Cohen asked why she needed four assistants.
“I need a lot of help, you know?” she replied. “They all do different things. I run a lot of different companies and businesses, and a lot of them have different roles in the companies.”
Pressed on exactly what she did for work, she replied, “My background is in direct response marketing for about 20 years, so our company does advertising. We have a platform that helps people acquire customers, so when you’re shopping online or on the internet, and something pops, we have the algorithm behind why you’re getting served that ad.”
Shah continues to film the show, now in its third season. Those close to production say her guilty plea will be a huge part of the upcoming season.