‘Rea Housewives of Salt Lake City’ star Jennifer Shah pleads guilty to telemarketing scheme


LOWER MANHATTAN, New York — “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jennifer Shah pleaded guilty Monday in Manhattan federal court to criminal charges stemming from a telemarketing scheme and faces up to 14 years in prison. jail.

She must also pay $9.5 million in restitution and lose $6.5 million.

“Jennifer Shah played a key role in a nationwide program targeting elderly and vulnerable victims,” ​​U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. “These victims were sold false promises of financial security, but instead Shah and his co-conspirators swindled them out of their savings and gave them nothing to show for.”

Shah and others were accused of running an extensive telemarketing scheme that defrauded hundreds of people across the United States, many of them over the age of 55.

“At this time, Ms. Shah wishes to withdraw her plea of ​​not guilty,” defense attorney Priya Chaudhry said at the start of Monday’s plea change hearing.

Shah, 48, was sworn in and gave her full name, Jennifer Keikilani Shah, before the judge asked a series of questions.

“Do you wish to enter a guilty plea for count 1?” asked Judge Sidney Stein.

“Yes, your honor,” Shah replied.

Count 1 charges Shah with attempt and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

“From 2012 to March 2021, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, I agreed with others to commit wire fraud,” Shah told Judge Stein as he read a prepared statement. “I knew it was wrong. I knew a lot of people were hurt, and I’m so sorry.”

When questioned by the judge, Shah said her scheme misrepresented the value of the services sold. They had no value, she said.

“Did you know what you were doing was wrong and illegal? Stein asked.

“Yes, your honor,” Shah replied.

She initially pleaded not guilty and was due to stand trial from next week.

Federal prosecutors said Shah and his assistant Stuart Smith, who also pleaded guilty, were among those “responsible for orchestrating the larger plan” and provided “leads that supported the sales surfaces.”

Like many of its sister franchises, the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” is known for portraying the lavish lifestyles of its cast members.

“Shah and Smith displayed their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success,'” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Peter Fitzhugh said after Shah and Smith’s arrest. “In reality, they would have built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.”

Shah is due to be sentenced on November 28.

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