“Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jennifer Shah just pleaded guilty to charges related to a nationwide telemarketing scam, NBC News reported. She had initially submitted a plea of not guilty after charges were filed in March 2021.
Shah agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and to pay restitution up to $9.5 million with this change. She’s also facing a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
The 48-year-old television personality also admitted that she “agreed with others to commit with wire fraud” and “knew it misled” victims. Shah said the fraud included “misrepresentation of the product … regarding value of the service” and concurred the goods “had little to no value.”
The publication reported that at least ten of those individuals were over 55. “We used interstate telephones and emails. I knew many of the purchasers were over the age of 55. I am so sorry, ” Shah said.
“Jennifer Shah was a key participant in a nationwide scheme that targeted elderly, vulnerable victims,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement to NBC News.
He continued: “These victims were sold false promises of financial security but instead Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings and left them with nothing to show for it. This Office is committed to rooting out these schemes whatever form they take.”
On “Real Housewives,” Shah showed off her extravagant lifestyle.
When the show’s executive producer Andy Cohen asked how she earned so much money during the first season reunion special, the reality star said, “My background is in direct response marketing for about 20 years, so our company does advertising. We have a platform that helps people acquire customers, so when you’re shopping online or on the Internet, and something pops, we have the algorithm behind why you’re getting served that ad.”
“Jennifer Shah, who portrays herself as a wealthy and successful businessperson on ‘reality’ television, and Stuart Smith, who is portrayed as Shah’s ‘first assistant,’ allegedly generated and sold ‘lead lists’ of innocent individuals for other members of their scheme to repeatedly scam,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss previously said in a press release, per People.
“In actual reality and as alleged, the so-called business opportunities pushed on the victims by Shah, Smith, and their co-conspirators were just fraudulent schemes, motivated by greed, to steal victims’ money. Now, these defendants face time in prison for their alleged crimes.”