American television star Jen Shah, who is known for her work in the reality TV series, ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’, has pleaded guilty on criminal fraud charges.
The charges are linked to an alleged telemarketing scheme, according to court documents obtained by ‘Variety’.
Having pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier, Shah entered the plea on Monday morning (Pacific Standard Time) in Manhattan federal court, one week ahead of the planned trial, which was scheduled to begin on July 18.
‘Variety’ further states that Shah and others were previously accused of scamming hundreds of elderly people through a wide-ranging telemarketing scheme in the US. The situation has been a storyline on Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’, where Shah is known for her over-the-top lifestyle, glitzy fashion, many assistants, crying, screaming, throwing drinks and continuous denials.
In addition to time behind bars, the plea agreement calls for Shah to make restitution in an amount of more than $9 million to victims, as well as forfeiture of $6 million.
At the recent hearing, Shah’s attorney, Priya Chaudhry, said the reality star would like to withdraw her plea of not guilty. Shah admitted to wrongdoing, apologised to the judge and said she would not appeal if the sentencing is for 168 months or fewer.
Jen Shah told Judge Sidney Stein in court, reading from a prepared statement, according to ‘ABC News’ and quoted by ‘Variety’, “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.”
The maximum penalty on the count of conviction is 30 years of imprisonment. Under the terms of her plea deal, Shah’s sentencing guidelines are between 135 to 168 months of imprisonment (between 11 and 14 years), though the judge can choose to sentence Shah above or below that timeframe.