ennifer Shah was sentenced to 6½ years in prison with a supervised release of five years after pleading guilty to committing wire fraud in a telemarketing scheme targeting the elderly.
After about a one hour, 30-minute sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein ruled Shah must forfeit $6.5 million and pay more than $6.6 million in restitution.
She was ordered to report to prison by Feb. 17.
Judge Stein noted he was not only sentencing her under the probation recommendation (135-168 months), but also below what the government had recommended (110 months).
However, he believed the sentence reflected “the seriousness of the crime” and that it was enough punishment to deter a reoccurrence and deter others from committing the same type of crime.
The judge said Shah seemed to have remorse but noted he doesn’t know “if she truly appreciates the damage” she has caused to the victims.
“This crime was extensive,” he added, insisting that she played a prominent role in the fraud scheme.
Judge Stein wished her luck and said he hopes she can rebuild her life and pay back the victims when she is released from prison.
Shah spoke before the judge while breaking down in tears at times, especially when apologizing to her family. She recognized the “shame, pain and tears” she has caused her husband and sons.”I have failed and disappointed you,” she said.
She also apologized to the victims and promised to repay them.
“I want to apologize to all the victims and their families,” she said. “I am sincerely remorseful. I promise to repay every cent. … I am profoundly and deeply sorry.”
After Shah’s sentencing was complete, the reality star was swarmed by fans outside the courthouse. Her husband, University of Utah assistant football coach Sharrieff Shah, walked ahead of his wife as she seemed expressionless leaving.
“With today’s sentence, Jennifer Shah finally faces the consequences of the many years she spent targeting vulnerable, elderly victims,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “These individuals were lured in by false promises of financial security, but in reality, Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings and left them with nothing to show for it.
“This conviction and sentence demonstrate once again that we will continue to vigorously protect victims of financial fraud and hold accountable those who engage in fraudulent schemes.”
Shah was sentenced before Judge Stein in federal court in New York.
She entered the courtroom around 9:50 a.m. and sat briefly in the gallery next to some family members and friends, including her husband and her two sons, Sharrieff Shah Jr. and Omar Shah.
The “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star wore a camel outfit and sported a pantsuit, leopard print camel tie, a coat and leopard-print stilettos.
Judge Stein took the bench around 10:30 a.m. to start the sentencing hearing, and Shah sat between her two attorneys at the defense table.
The courtroom was packed and filled with “Real Housewives” fans eagerly awaiting Shah’s sentence.
The reality star appeared to have a serious demeanor and looked tense ahead of her sentencing. Shah looked behind at her husband, who was seated in the gallery, briefly before the sentencing started.
The Justice Department initially requested a decade behind bars for the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star. Her legal team requested a three-year sentence, previously calling Shah “an exceptional mother and a good woman who has already been punished extensively as a result of the sins of her past.”
She originally faced up to 50 years in prison.
Shah and her longtime assistant, Stuart Smith, were “each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing through which they victimized 10 or more persons over the age of 55, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years,” the Department of Justice said in a release published at the time of their arrests.
“The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.”
The pair used third-party names for their business entities, according to the initial indictment. Shah and Smith allegedly told victims to use encrypted messages as forms of communication and instructed users to send payments to offshore accounts.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York’s El Dorado Task Force with support from HSI Salt Lake.
“Shah’s fraud scheme targeted and exploited vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people. She and her co-conspirators built their publicly lavish lifestyles on the false promises of financial independence offered to their victims – victims who to them, were merely ‘leads’ to be bought and sold,” said Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in New York.
“Shah’s crimes have had deep, lasting impacts on the lives of her victims and today’s significant sentence and forfeiture reflects the seriousness of her crimes,” Arvelo continued. “HSI, along with our partners at the New York City Police Department & the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, remains committed to using our expertise in financial investigations to investigate and prosecute those who prey on the most vulnerable members of our society.”
She initially pled not guilty to the charges in 2021. One year later, Shah entered a guilty plea as part of an agreement in which the money laundering charge was dropped. She agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and also pay restitution up to $9.5 million.
Bravo cameras were rolling when authorities stepped into a “Housewives” production in search of Shah. Only minutes before Homeland Security arrived in the Beauty Lab parking lot, Shah had received a phone call from an unknown person and abruptly left the shoot.
Shah was arrested on her way home March 30, 2021.
“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,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss.
“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.”
Prior to July’s guilty plea, Shah spent more than one year professing her innocence on “RHOSLC,” even using “The only thing I’m guilty of is being Shah-mazing” as a tagline for her “Housewives” introduction in season 2.
Her lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, confirmed to Fox News Digital at the time that Shah’s guilty plea was due to her desire to move forward with her life and “put this ordeal behind her.”
“Ms. Shah is a good woman who crossed a line. She accepts full responsibility for her actions and deeply apologizes to all who have been harmed,” Chaudhry said.
“Ms. Shah is also sorry for disappointing her husband, children, family, friends and supporters. Jen pled guilty because she wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.”