'Real Housewife' Jen Shah should get 10 years in prison following guilty plea for wire fraud, feds say

‘Real Housewife’ Jen Shah should get 10 years in prison following guilty plea for wire fraud, feds say

The Justice Department is requesting a decade in prison for “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah ahead of her Jan. 6 sentencing for running a nationwide telemarketing scheme targeting seniors, according to newly-filed court documents that also feature previously unreported victim impact statements from some of the elderly people she defrauded.

The Dec. 23 filing calls Shah, 49, “the most culpable person charged in this case,” and “an integral leader of a wide-ranging, nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that victimized thousands of innocent people.”

“At the defendant’s direction, victims were defrauded over and over again until they had nothing left,” Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote. “She and her co-conspirators persisted in their conduct until the victims’ bank accounts were empty, their credit cards were at their limits, and there was nothing more to take.”

Shah’s lawyers and representative did not immediately return requests for comment. Shah’s lawyers have requested a three-year prison sentence, court documents show.

Shah and her “first assistant,” Stuart Smith, were accused in March 2021 of committing wire fraud and money laundering in a scheme in which they “generated and sold ‘lead lists’ of innocent individuals for other members of their scheme to repeatedly scam” from 2012 through 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

After initially pleading not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in April 2021, Shah entered a guilty plea to the wire fraud count this past July in a dramatic courtroom reversal a week before her trial was scheduled to begin.

The money laundering charge was tossed as part of the plea agreement, and Shah agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and to pay restitution up to $9.5 million, in addition to facing prison time of up to 14 years.

Smith also pleaded not guilty to the charges in April 2021, but later changed his plea to guilty in November 2021, court records show. Smith does not yet appear to have been sentenced, according to court documents. ‘The burden you have caused me is overwhelming’

The filing includes five previously unreported victim impact statements that were written last month, ahead of what was supposed to be Shah’s Nov. 28 sentencing, which was postponed to Jan. 6 at the request of her lawyers.

The statements shed new light on how Shah and her associates defrauded people and the impacts the scheme had on their victims, which allegedly included homelessness, suicidal ideation and severe health issues.

The victim who appeared to be defrauded out of the most money was a Canadian woman who lost more than $100,000 through the scheme’s unrealized promises to help her start an unspecified new business.

She said the loss of money led her to contemplate suicide, required her to re-mortgage her house, almost led her to divorce, and has left her continuing to struggle to pay bills and care for her “critically ill” husband and 90-year-old father.

“The burden you have caused me is overwhelming, I can’t even really put words to the amount of anguish you have caused,” that victim wrote to Shah in her impact statement.

A 60-year-old victim said she “suffered emotional and physical stress” after investing approximately $35,000 into what Shah’s associates promised would be her own e-commerce business. After devoting more than 10 hours a day to what she thought was her business and not making any profit, she “realized that I was being scammed” and had two heart attacks in 2018, the first of which she said was brought on by “extreme stress.”

Another victim with several serious health conditions said she became homeless after being pushed into nearly $30,000 debt through Shah’s scheme.

A 75-year-old retiree was defrauded of more than half her life savings — approximately $40,000 — through promises to coach her on how to market products online, she said in her victim impact statement. Several businesses under different names began subsequently contacting her with the same promises, and “coaching and information began to be duplicated,” she wrote.

A fifth victim, a widow in her mid-70s, asked the court to “let the punishment fit the crime” after Shah’s scheme defrauded her out of nearly $10,000 by selling her a course that promised to help her “acquire a skill in computer knowledge and sales work.” Not only did the course not adequately teach her how to start her own business, as promised, but telemarketers continued to call and harass her even after she realized she was being scammed and her attorney intervened, she wrote.

“The mental anguish is […]

source ‘Real Housewife’ Jen Shah should get 10 years in prison following guilty plea for wire fraud, feds say

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