“Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing on July 11, 2022.
Shah appeared in court in New York City for a surprise hearing and changed her previous not guilty plea one week before she was set to stand trial. Despite facing a maximum of 30 years in prison and five years of supervised release, she called for only 11 to 14 years behind bars and restitution of up to $9.5 million.
Here is a brief summary of some of the most important information from Jen Shah’s legal woes.
Why was the ‘RHOSLC’ star arrested?
The Bravolebrity was arrested on March 30, 2021 for allegedly scamming hundreds of people out of money – specifically targeting those over 55 – through a telemarketing scheme that spanned six states.
She had initially denied the claims and swore to fight the charges.
Was Shah arrested while filming ‘RHOSLC’?
Shah was arrested while filming “RHOSLC” in an episode that aired on Bravo on Nov. 7, 2021.
At the time of her arrest, she was with her co-stars and they were getting ready to leave on a cast trip to Vail, Colo. However, after receiving a phone call from an unnamed person, Shah claimed her husband, Sharrieff, was in the hospital with “internal bleeding” and needed to leave.
Shah bailed on the trip as Homeland Security, New York Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation showed up looking for her. She was arrested off camera.
What has Shah been accused of?
Shah was initially charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
When did she plead not guilty for wire fraud?
During a video hearing on April 2, 2021, Shah pleaded not guilty to the two charges against her.
Prosecutors blasted her as being “at the highest level” of the fraud that netted her at least $5 million in “crime proceeds.”
Additionally, US District Judge Sidney Stein, who presided over the entire case, agreed that Shah was a flight risk and restricted her travel to Utah, parts of New York and Washington, DC, and ordered her to turn over her passport.
Will the fraud trial go on as planned?
Shah’s initial trial – which had been rescheduled multiple times since its original October date – was slotted to take place on July 18, 2022.
However, the trial has been canceled and she’s awaiting sentencing after changing her plea to guilty on July 11, 2022.
Will Shah go to jail?
Shah, whose sentencing is set for November 2022, faces up to 30 years in jail. She is asking in her plea deal that her sentence is reduced to 11 to 14 years.
Shah’s sentence was decreased from an original maximum of 50 years after the US attorney agreed to drop the count of conspiracy to commit money laundering due to her plea deal.
What happened to Shah’s assistant Stuart Smith?
Stuart Smith, who was Shah’s main assistant, was arrested the same day as the reality TV star.
He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of obstructing an official proceeding. He originally pleaded not guilty.
However, in November 2021, he changed his plea to guilty and even agreed to testify against Shah.
“I knowingly and intentionally discussed and engaged with other individuals to develop a plan or operation to obtain money by false representation by offering and inducing individuals, many of whom were over 50 years of age or older, to provide money to entities that I and others were involved with,” Smith—who is now awaiting sentencing—said during his hearing.
What has Shah said about her trial and plea?
For months, the “RHOSLC” star vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
“I’m innocent…and look forward to trial so you along with everyone else can see the truth,” Shah first wrote on Instagram in March 2022.
During the “RHOSLC” Season 2 reunion, which aired that same month, Shah explained that she wasn’t taking a guilty plea because she was “innocent.”
“I’m fighting this. I am innocent,” Shah told reunion host Andy Cohen and her castmates. “And I will fight for every person out there that can’t fight for themselves because they don’t have the resources or the means, so they don’t fight.”
“I will fight because No. 1, I’m innocent and no. 2, I’m going to f—king represent every other person out there that can’t fight and hasn’t been able to.”
Shah has yet to address her guilty plea.
What have Shah’s ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ co-stars said about her arrest?
Although most of the cast remained silent on social media, Shah’s arrest was a major plotline for Season 2 and every “RHOSLC” cast member had their theories.
Heather Gay, who has stayed by Shah’s side, said in an episode, “All I can think about is [Shah and Smith’s] families and how this is going to take off like wildfire. I’m absolutely gut-punched that Jen may be involved in this.”
Meredith Marks, who was feuding with Shah at the time of her arrest, claimed that she had her suspicions about her former friend.
“Too many things didn’t add up,” she added. “And now, it’s validated that I was right [and] I’m not crazy. That’s the bottom line.”
Whitney Rose agreed with Marks’ statement, adding that she always wondered what Shah’s actual job was.
And as for Mary Cosby, she couldn’t believe that Shah had been arrested, adding that her “heart is broken.”