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‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ star Jennifer Shah convicted of telephone marketing

‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ star Jennifer Shah convicted of telephone marketing

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LOWER MANHATTAN, New York City — “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” cast member Jennifer Shah was sentenced Friday to six and a half years in prison for defrauding thousands of people, many of them vulnerable and older, in a wide-ranging telemarketing scam had almost a decade.

Assistant US Attorney Robert Sobelman said Shah was a leader in a “clear and brazen scam” that spanned from 2012 to March 2021, when it promoted bogus services that allowed people to make significant amounts of money through online businesses. He called her the most guilty among more than 30 defendants.

Judge Sidney Stein said that Shah’s role at RHOSLC played no role in his sentencing decision.

“The character your client plays in The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is just a character,” Stein told attorneys. “The Real Housewives franchise involves role-playing and editing. People shouldn’t confuse the character she plays on an entertainment show with the person I’m looking at, and this court won’t confuse that.”

Shah sat between two lawyers in a camel pantsuit. Her husband Sharieff sat behind her in a slate blue suit. He raised his hand as he was introduced by defense attorney Priyah Chaudhry.

“For the rest of Ms Shah’s life, she will remember their names,” Chaudhry said of the victims. “Ms. Shah knows she has ruined the lives of so many.”

Stein interrupted the show of sympathy to ask, “Does she still sell Free Jen or Justice for Jen merchandise on her website, or has that been removed?”

Chaudhry said Shah is no longer selling the items and has kept the proceeds for reimbursement.

The defense insisted Shah understood that the victims “had very little at first and will now fight even more,” but when Chaudhry said none of the victims ever spoke directly to Shah, Judge Stein intervened.

“Because she was too high up in the conspiracy to deal with victims,” ​​Stein said. “She was too important. She was a leader. So the fact that she never spoke to a victim works against you.”

Federal prosecutors called it “absurd” to portray Shah as a mere list seller whom other telemarketers are supposed to scam.

“She laughs at text messages where she talks about cheating on these people,” Assistant Attorney Robert Silverman said. “It’s not like she just sent someone a computer file.”

Silverman said it was “really difficult” to hear the defense consider Shah to be self-deprecating and somehow unaware of the seriousness of her crimes.

“It’s a decade of working hard every day to defraud people,” the prosecutor said. “This defendant was productive. She made a lot of money from this plan.”

Shah acknowledged that she “has struggled with taking responsibility for the longest time,” but said she now takes responsibility for her actions.

“I am deeply and deeply sorry,” Shah said.

Silverman doubted Shah’s remorse.

“There’s not a single message that expresses remorse,” Silverman said. “It’s fair to conclude that she didn’t feel that way.”

Silverman spoke of the victims of the scam.

“These are elderly, vulnerable women whose lives have been turned upside down by the defendant’s telemarketing scam,” he said.

The six-and-a-half-year sentence is less than the 10 years required by prosecutors, but more than double what the defense was hoping for.

Shah was ordered to pay $6.6 million in damages as part of her sentence and a $6.5 million forfeiture. The judge also authorized the forfeiture of “a large number of items: handbags, wallets, jewelry, and so on.”

The judge said he was “a little concerned” that Shah’s manager was present at court. He warned them not to try to profit from their crime and instead focus on raising money to pay back the victims.

“Ms. Shah was an integral part of the plan,” Justice Stein said. “No victim has ever earned any of the promised returns.”

Shah tearfully apologized for bringing her family “shame, embarrassment and pain” and broke even deeper when she said to her younger son Omar: “Mommy is so sorry for the trauma you suffered when you were woken up at gunpoint “The day of their arrest.

When Shah promised to “pay back every penny,” the judge paused to ask, “How do you intend to do that?”

She replied hesitantly, coached by her lawyer: “I plan to use my platform when I get out of prison to raise the money. I hope to be able to work again.”

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