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Utah Housewife Jen Shah’s Nationwide Pyramid Scheme Explained & What She’s Facing

She just changed her plea to guilty.

Georgia Staff Writer
A selfie of Jen Shah. Right: Jen Shah in a fur coat.

A selfie of Jen Shah. Right: Jen Shah in a fur coat.

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday, where she is facing charges for money laundering and conspiring to commit wire fraud.

The Utah reality TV star was arrested back in March of 2021 for her involvement in a nationwide telemarketing scheme.

"Jennifer Shah, who portrays herself as a wealthy and successful businessperson on ‘reality’ television, and Stuart Smith, who is portrayed as Shah’s ‘first assistant,’ allegedly generated and sold ‘lead lists’ of innocent individuals for other members of their scheme to repeatedly scam," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, according to the Department of Justice's press release of March 30, 2021.

Strauss added these schemes were motivated by greed with the intent of stealing money from innocent victims, often targeting vulnerable and elderly working-class people.

"As alleged, disturbingly, Shah and Smith objectified their very real human victims as ‘leads’ to be bought and sold, offering their personal information for sale to other members of their fraud ring," HSI Special Agent-in-charge Peter C. Fitzhugh explained, as per the same document.

Shah was in the middle of filming Real Housewives of Salt Lake City at the time of her dramatic arrest, which was captured on camera.

Despite claiming her innocence and even selling "not guilty" merch throughout the legal drama, Shah changed her plea to guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing on July 11.

Priya Chaudhry, Shah's attorney, told NBC News that Shah "wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.”

Shah apologized in the courtroom saying, "[I] knew it was wrong, many people were harmed and I’m so sorry.”

Shah's official sentencing is scheduled to take place on November 28, 2022. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of up to 14 years spent behind bars, as well as a forfeiture of $6 million and restitution of $9 million to be paid to the affected victims.

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