Jen Shah got 78 months (6.5 years) in prison for her part in setting up a fraud scheme. Friday, the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star went to court in New York after pleading guilty to her part in the telemarketing scheme. Sharrieff, Shah’s husband, and their two sons, Sharrieff Jr. and Omar, were in court when the decision was made.
Shah’s attorney Priya Chaudhry issued a statement to PEOPLE after the decision: “Jen Shah deeply regrets the mistakes that she has made and is profoundly sorry to the people she has hurt. Jen has faith in our justice system, understands that anyone who breaks the law will be punished, and accepts this sentence as just. Jen will pay her debt to society and when she is a free woman again, she vows to pay her debt to the victims harmed by her mistakes.”
Friday morning, Judge Sidney Stein spoke to the courtroom, which was full. According to Inner City Press’s Matthew Russell Lee, Judge Stein told attendees: “Jen Shah’s role on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, which I guess is why the courtroom is so full today, is just that, a role. People should not confuse the character she plays on an entertainment show to the person before me.”
Lee reported what Shah said when she had a chance to talk “I am sorry. My actions have hurt innocent people. I want to apologise by saying, I am doing all I can to earn the funds to pay restitution.”
— SHEA FROM THE BAY (@SheaFromTheBay) January 6, 2023
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Sobelman called Shah’s crimes “brazen fraud” before he gave her a sentence. Per Lee, Sobelman added, “Every cooperator told us, ‘Jen Shah is the boss.’ They all knew who she was.”
Lee says that before that, Judge Stein had told Chaudhry that her client “was the leader of this plot.” Judge Stein continued, “So this cuts against you, not for you.”
Chaudhry later responded, “Jen has spent month reading the names of those she has hurt. She has prayed for their forgiveness. But she cannot forgive herself. Jen understands she cannot undo the pain or repay them today — but today is about justice for them. Measuring the pain.”
Later, when she explained her client’s reasons, she said, “Jen hoped that the TV light would hide her pain. She spent years trying to hide her feeling, to fake it until she make them. She tried not to see the people who lost money. Her original fraud was on herself.”
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Stein countered, “Her activity in this crime took place years before The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City started. So you are saying her hunger for trinkets predates the show?”
Chaudhry said, in part: “Elders, her victims, are teaching her. She regrets the mistakes she has made. She is sorry. She had faith in our justice system. Jen will pay her debt to society.”
Chaudhry closed, “Ms. Shah will celebrate her 50th birthday in a federal prison. … Then she will try to make whole those who lost money. She will once again make her elders proud.”
She said later, “Longstanding untreated mental issues caused me to create my own fractured reality. This is a crucible moment for me. With the proper medication I can now see what happened. I wish I could have stood outside myself. I am sorry.”
Shah addressed her younger son and her father: “To my baby Omar, Mommy is so sorry you were woken up at gunpoint. My late father, I want to tell him I am sorry. I am humbled by your love for me.”
With no further words from Shah, Judge Stein declared, “My intention is to impose a sentence of 78 months of incarceration, and other conditions.” Shah will start serving his time on February 17.
Judge Stein did not say where Shah will do her time on Friday, but he did say that it will be in the “Texas region.” Shah was also sentenced to five years of supervised release after her release from jail by Judge Stein. Stein noted this was done “to make sure you don’t wind up committing another crime.”
It truly breaks my heart to see what greed does to innocent people! STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR JEN SHAH’S ACTIONS! SHE DESERVED MORE THAN 6.5 YEARS!!
How can anyone support a monster who stole from elderly people and their hard earned money?! #RHOSLC pic.twitter.com/wPyD0uvK5y
— MarTEAnis With Eddy (@MarTEAnisEddy) January 6, 2023
Sharrieff walked up to Jen after the sentence was given and gave her a kiss and a hug. She then walked into the stands without showing any emotion and hugged her mother and her sons. The Shahs left the courthouse soon after that.
Shah, who was 49 years old, and Stuart Smith, who worked for her, were arrested in March 2021 for running a phone scam to steal money from people over 55.
Later, it became clear that the scam was based on the idea that the victims could take a tutoring course that would prepare them for a paid sales job.
Even after Smith pleaded guilty in November 2021, Shah kept saying she was innocent. She did this until July 2022, when she took a plea deal and admitted in court that she was part of the scheme.
The U.S. government wanted Shah to get 10 years in prison, but the plea deal said he would get between 11 and 14 years. Shah asked the court in December for his sentence to be cut down to just three years.
Todd Chrisley looking at Jen Shah’s 6.5 year sentence compared to his 12 year sentence pic.twitter.com/d0nHgnajAz
— Christian Snow (@theCGSshow) January 6, 2023
“The terrible business decisions I made and professional relationships I developed stemmed from some personal painful experiences that I was going through in my life,” she wrote in the request, as reported by CNN.
Shah could have been jailed for up to 30 years for the crime, but she had already agreed not to appeal if her sentence was less than 14 years.
People got court documents that showed how Shah’s supposed wrongdoings affected the people who were hurt. One man said he “wasted about $40,000 trying to do good for my family,” while another said they paid $100,000. Two of the people who gave statements about the scam said that it made them lose their homes.
Chaudhry told PEOPLE at the time: “Ms. Shah is devastated by the suffering she has caused these people. She vows to dedicate her life to trying to make each one whole.”
Between her arrest and her sentencing, Shah did film some episodes of RHOSLC, but she did not film the upcoming season 3 reunion… Follow us only on Lee Daily for more news like this.