Real Housewives Star Sentenced to 6.5 Years

Jen Shah pleaded guilty in telemarketing scam
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2021 4:00 AM CDT
Updated Jan 6, 2023 4:55 PM CST
Real Housewives Star Allegedly Defrauded Hundreds
Jen Shah, a cast member from the reality TV series "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" looks on while being driven from the federal courthouse Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
UPDATE Jan 6, 2023 4:55 PM CST

As Real Housewives of Salt Lake City fans watched—in person—reality star Jen Shah was sentenced Friday to 6½ years in prison over a telemarketing scheme. Prosecutors had sought a 10-year sentence, NBC News reports, while the defense requested a three-year term. Shah had pleaded guilty in July. Five years of supervised release will follow, US District Judge Sidney Stein decided. "I don’t know if she appreciates the harm she has caused," Stein said. Fans who traveled to the New York City courtroom expected a tougher sentence, but one, Carolyn Ramella, said, "It feels good to know people with high power can't get away with shady business practices."

Mar 31, 2021 4:00 AM CDT

Jen Shah once boasted that she likely spends $50,000 per month. Authorities say the famously lavish lifestyle of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star was, however, funded at least in part via defrauding hundreds of "vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people." Shah, 47, who started appearing in the SLC edition of the franchise when it debuted last year, was arrested Tuesday along with her assistant and partner Stuart Smith, 43, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. They face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carry potential sentences of up to 30 years and 20 years, respectively. Shah is married to University of Utah assistant football coach Sharrieff Shah.

Authorities say that for nine years, Shah and Smith "sold alleged services purporting to make the management of victims' businesses more efficient or profitable," including tax preparation, coaching sessions, and website design, though many of the victims didn't even own computers. They allegedly put together lists of "leads," people who had already made an investment in a purported online business opportunity, and shared them with co-conspirators in the scam who could defraud them again and give Shah and Smith some of the proceeds, CNN and the New York Post report. "At no point did the defendants intend that the victims would actually earn any of the promised return on their intended investment, nor did the victims actually earn any such returns," the indictment states. Shah was also recently accused of mistreating her former designer. (Read more Real Housewives stories.)

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