'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' Star Jen Shah Pleads Guilty to Fraud

The reality TV star changed her plea to guilty in charges stemming from an alleged money laundering scheme.

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from her alleged involvement in a money laundering scheme, according to a release by the Southern District of New York Department of Justice.

On Monday, during an unscheduled hearing, the 48-year-old reality TV personality appeared in Manhattan federal court and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing.   

The second count, conspiracy to commit money laundering, has been dropped. Judge Sidney Stein warned Shah that she now faces up to 30 years in prison and five years of supervised release.  

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said following the hearing, “Jennifer Shah was a key participant in a nationwide scheme that targeted elderly, vulnerable victims. These victims were sold false promises of financial security but instead Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings and left them with nothing to show for it. This Office is committed to rooting out these schemes whatever form they take.”

Along with her guilty plea, the Bravo celebrity agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and to pay restitution up to $9.5 million.

Shah's attorney, Priya Chaudhry, also released a statement to ET following her plea.

"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. Ms. Shah is also sorry for disappointing her husband, children, family, friends, and supporters," Chaudhry said. "Jen pled guilty because she wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family."

In March, the reality TV star, along with her assistant, Stuart Smith, were arrested. In April, during her arraignment, Shah pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in an alleged long-running money laundering scam, which targeted people across the United States, many over the age of 55.  

At the time, the judge ruled that Shah must sign a $1 million personal recognizance bond secured by $250,000 in cash or property and have the signatures of two "financially responsible persons" for her continued release. She was to have no contact with any co-defendants, victims, or witnesses except in the presence of council. 

In June, Shah sat down for an emotional multi-part interview on the YouTube series Up and Adam, where she reiterated her innocence.  

"I'm fighting for my freedom," she said. "I'm innocent. I'm not guilty of any of these charges that I've been accused of. I'm innocent." 

"To me, this is the only option for me, is to fight, to show everybody out there, who was so quick to jump on the bandwagon and make assumptions, that you know what? I'm innocent," she added. "You fight to vindicate your name, and your family's name. I'm fighting for my family." 

Shah’s trial is set to begin on July 18. The sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 28.  


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