Jen Shah won’t be seeing the light of day for a long time.
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star was finally sentenced for her telemarketing scheme on Friday – and the New York court system did NOT hold back. According to the Inner City Press, US District Judge Sidney Stein sentenced her to 6.5 years behind bars (AKA 78 months) for wire fraud. She will serve her time somewhere in the “Texas region,” though the judge would not name a specific facility, according to People. Additionally, she was ordered to serve five years of supervised release “to make sure [she doesn’t] end up committing another crime.”
While addressing the courtroom, the judge declared during the hearing via Inner City Press:
“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.”
During the hearing, Stein noted several times that Shah was the “leader” of the conspiracy, which was likely a deciding factor in giving her a lengthy prison sentence. Assistant US attorney Robert Sobelman, who represented the government, reiterated this, saying via the outlet:
“Every cooperator told us, Jen Shah is the boss. They all knew who she was.”
As we’ve been covering, Jen was arrested in March 2021 over claims she was involved with a telemarketing scheme, in which she mostly targeted elderly people. Ahead of her sentencing, federal prosecutors requested she receive a minimum of 10 years behind bars, noting in a letter to the court:
“Victims were defrauded over and over again until they had nothing left.”
“[Shah] 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.”
Last week, letters from several of those victims also made headlines, detailing the pain that was caused by the fraud.
Earlier on Friday, Jen’s attorneys argued for her to receive a lesser sentence of just three years behind bars. Of course, this is much shorter than the one she was given — but it’s also lesser than an already-reduced sentence of up to 14 years of prison time that she initially requested as part of her plea deal in December, according to Inner City Press. At the time, Jen’s lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, said:
“We submit that such a sentence is just and fair because it takes into account Ms. Shah’s history and characteristics, the facts and circumstances of the offense, and meets that a court impose a sentence that is ‘not greater than necessary’ to achieve the goals of punishment.”
The reality star’s camp also thought she deserved less prison time since she allegedly had no “direct contact” with the victims. As if that makes it any better. The judge obviously didn’t think so.
Interestingly, her husband, Sharrieff Shah Sr., tried to place the blame on himself and their struggling relationship. In a letter requesting the judge go easy on the fashionista, he pointed out that Jen had a clean criminal history while explaining:
“My wife’s current legal predicament was caused by a confluence of events that came together at various points, which caused her to spiral out of control.”
He argued their strained relationship at the time led her to “make catastrophically bad business decisions and develop relationships with awful people.” He continued:
“Because of my absence, I was not able to see how badly my wife was suffering.”
Jen also apologized to the victims of her scam on Friday, saying “reality TV has nothing to do with reality” and expressing how “sorry” she was that her actions “hurt innocent people.” While claiming her “longstanding untreated mental issues” caused her to “create my own fractured reality,” she told the victims:
“I want to apologize by saying, I am doing all I can to earn the funds to pay restitution.”
Her attorney also added on her behalf via TMZ:
“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.”
Sobelman wasn’t buying it, clapping back, according to Inner City Press:
“There is not one message from her that expresses any type of remorse, not one. The defense hasn’t submitted any. That’s not how she felt even when she pled guilty.”
When the 49-year-old was first arrested, she insisted she was going to fight the charges, but then changed her mind and eventually pled guilty in July. Whether it was remorse or legal advice that caused her to change course, well, we’ll never know for sure.
Ultimately Judge Stein seems to have split the difference between the request of the defense and prosecutors. 6.5 years is exactly halfway between 3 and 10 years. Hmm.
BTW, Shah made the most of her time before being fitted for an orange jumpsuit. She showed up to the Manhattan courthouse on Friday wearing a camel-colored outfit with a leopard-print bag (as seen above), and she was joined inside by her husband and her two sons, Sharrieff Shah Jr. and Omar Shah. It’s gotta be a tough day for them, but finally, the victims get some justice. Jen is scheduled to surrender to prison on February 17. Thoughts?