Jen Shah of 'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' gets 6.5 years for fraud scheme
By Jack Queen
Jan 6 (Reuters) - Reality TV star Jen Shah was sentenced to 6-1/2 years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to running a telemarketing scam that bilked elderly victims of tens of millions of dollars.
Shah, who projected a glamorous lifestyle on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City," pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy and admitted to luring thousands of elderly victims into draining their bank accounts and maxing out their credit cards to buy “business services.”
Standing before a packed courtroom in federal court in Manhattan, wearing a tan pantsuit and stiletto heels, Shah said through tears that she was “profoundly and deeply sorry” and had “deluded” herself into believing she was doing wrong.
“I alone am responsible for my terrible decisions,” she said.
Shah’s attorney, Priya Chaudhry, said in a statement after the hearing that her client intends to pay her debts to society and her victims.
U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein delivered the sentence, ordering Shah to pay more than $6.5 million in restitution and surrender a laundry list of luxury goods she acquired over the years.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that Shah “finally faces the consequences of the many years she spent targeting vulnerable, elderly victims.”
'JUSTICE FOR JEN SHAH'
Shah, 49, began selling leads on people susceptible to scams to telemarketers around 2012 and later ran her own sales floor where underlings cold-called elderly victims offering bogus business opportunities, according to court documents. Prosecutors said Shah was the ringleader of a of more than two-dozen people indicted in the scheme.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of 10 years in prison, saying Shah had shown remorse and went to great lengths to conceal her crimes.
Shah initially denied the allegations after her arrest in March 2021 and sold merchandise attesting to her innocence. She pleaded guilty a week before trial and said on Friday that the money she made selling "Justice For Jen Shah" apparel will go to victims.
(Reporting by Jack Queen; editing by Amy Stevens and Leslie Adler)