“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah was sentenced to six and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to involvement in a nationwide, long-running telemarketing scheme that largely targeted senior citizens. Was.

Shah, 49, initially denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges in 2021 after federal agents arrested him. The television star entered a guilty plea and agreed to forfeit millions of dollars linked to the scheme in exchange for prosecutors dropping money-laundering charges.

“I knew it was wrong. I knew people were harmed,” the Bravo star testified before a Manhattan court last summer. “Pardon me.”

Shah’s charges carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, but the terms of his plea deal set guidelines for a sentence of 11 to 14 years. Prosecutors sought 10 years, while his legal team asked the judge for three years.

“I knew it was wrong. I knew people were hurt.

-Jane Shah

Pleading guilty, Shah accepted circling a wide range fraud ring Along with his business partner, Stuart Smith, who was also arrested and pleaded guilty. As part of their nearly decade-long scheme, Shah and Smith created and sold lists of hundreds of leads to others involved in the operation, knowing they would repeatedly defraud innocent people through telemarketing scams. Were using purchased information. According to the pair’s indictment, their business raked in money by selling victims fake services for tax preparation, website design and other business resources.

Perhaps most troubling of all, their operation targets one of the easiest targets for scammers at large: senior citizens.

“Jennifer Shah was a key participant in a nationwide scheme that targeted elderly, vulnerable victims,” ​​Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in July. Statement, “These victims were sold false promises of financial security, but instead Shah and his co-conspirators defrauded them of their savings and left nothing to show for it.”

Peter Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge for Homeland Security Investigations, also had harsh words for Shah and Smith, saying they “displayed their lavish lifestyles to the public as symbols of their success. In fact, they Allegedly built their wealthy lifestyles at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.

Jen Shah, third from right, with “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” cast members at the season 2 reunion taping.

Like “The Real Housewives” Stars before this HisShah’s legal woes unfolded in front of the cameras in spectacular reality television fashion. She spent the first season of her Bravo show parading her assets to viewers—as is expected of women starring in the network’s multi-city franchise—at her palatial “Shah Chalet”, accompanied by assistants and five -figure parties as a small army of. His lifestyle, he often quipped to onlookers, was nothing short of a “Shah-Bhool Bhulaiya”.

In the 2020 reunion episode for the first season, Shah gave a vague response when Bravo host Andy Cohen pressed him to explain what exactly he did for the job.

“My background is in direct response marketing for almost 20 years, so our company does advertising,” she said. “We have a platform that helps people get customers, so when you shop online or on the Internet and something pops up, we have an algorithm for why you’re being served that ad.”

By the middle of the second season, which aired last year, agents from the Department of Homeland Security came to the show to arrest him in a sting operation, accusing him of amassing wealth paraded on TV through a sinister scheme. Imposed. Over 800,000 viewers tuned in to watch the play.

Shah is married to Sharif Shah, a coach for the Utah football team, who has made frequent appearances on his wife’s show. He has two sons.

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