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"Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star Jen Shah pleads guilty in wire fraud case

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Jennifer Shah, who stars on Bravo's "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City," pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. Shah, 48, now faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.

Shah pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing through which she victimized 10 or more persons over the age of 55. She also agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and to pay restitution up to $9.5 million.

Shah, along with others, allegedly carried out a wide-ranging telemarketing scheme that defrauded hundreds of victims throughout the U.S., by selling them so-called "business services" in connection with the victims' purported online businesses.

Shah lives in Park City, Utah, but began operating a Manhattan-based sales floor in 2017, selling downstream "business opportunity" products to victims on lead lists. 

Many of the victims on the lead lists had previously made an initial investment to create an online business with other participants in the scheme. Shah is accused of selling leads to other participants for use for their telemarketing, "with the knowledge that the individuals they had identified as 'leads' would be defrauded by the other Participants, including by lying to Victims about how much they would earn after purchasing the business services and the purported success of others who had purchased the services," according to a news release from the DOJ.

The DOJ says Shah controlled the day-to-day operations of the Manhattan sales floor between 2018 and 2020 and, among other things, she and other participants moved certain operations to Kosovo to avoid law enforcement and regulatory scrutiny.

Shah was arrested and charged along with her business partner Stuart Smith in March 2021. HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said the pair "flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their 'success.'"

"In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people," Fitzhugh said. 

Her arrest was chronicled on Bravo's "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City." On the reality show, Smith was presented as Shah's "assistant." The legal trouble caused a rift between the two. Smith pleaded guilty, while Shah initially pleaded not guilty and maintained her innocence on the show. 

Shah's sentencing is set for Nov. 28. 

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