Celebrity News February 17, 2023
‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ Star Jen Shah Begins 6.5-Year Prison Sentence
“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah is starting her prison sentence.
TMZ reports Shah surrendered Friday, arriving at FPC Bryan in Bryan, Texas.
Before she began her sentence, Shah's lawyer Priya Chaudry told Page Six, "Jen Shah’s resolve to make her victims whole and to turn her life around is unyielding. She is committed to serving her sentence with courage and purpose, fueled by her desire to make amends for the hurt she has caused and to help others in her new community."
"No obstacle will deter Jen from making the most of her time in prison and she’s determined to make restitution to those whose lives she has impacted," Chaudry added. "Her path ahead will be filled with challenges, but with the unwavering love and support of her family and friends, Jen is prepared to face these challenges head-on and emerge from this experience a better person who makes a positive impact on others.”
Earlier this week, Shah got two tattoos on each of her forearms. On one arm, she inked the names of her husband and sons. Her other arm now has the word "Keiki," which is the Hawaiian word for "child" or "baby."
In January, a judge handed down a six-and-a-half-year sentence for Shah, who was 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, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Judge Stein told the courtroom, “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.”
Stein added, “People should not confuse the character she plays on an entertainment show to the person before me.”
Ahead of her sentencing, Shah’s attorney Priya Chaudhry noted that her client “regrets the mistakes she has made. She is sorry. She had faith in our justice system. Jen will pay her debt to society.”
Federal prosecutors wanted Shah to serve 10 years in prison, saying, “Victims were defrauded over and over again until they had nothing left.”
Her legal team was hoping that she would only have to serve three years in prison. Her team argued, “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.”
In July, Shah agreed to plead guilty as part of a plea agreement, which would require her to pay more than $9 million in restitution to victims and forfeit $6 million.
In her own statement, Shah told the judge, “In 2012 to March 2021 in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere I agreed with others to commit wire fraud. I knew this was wrong. I knew many people were harmed and I'm so sorry."
When the judge asked Shah if she knew what she was doing was illegal and wrong, Shah responded, “Yes, your honor.”
Shah’s legal troubles were documented on the second season of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”