Former ‘Real Housewives’ Cast Member Gets Prison Time for Role in Sweeping Telemarketing Fraud Scheme

On Friday, defendant Jennifer Shah received a 78 month prison sentence in addition to an order requiring her to pay more than $12 million in penalties and disgorgement for her role running a fraudulent nationwide telemarketing scheme. A week earlier, Shah, 49, of Salt Lake City, Utah, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the scheme.

According to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s court filings, from 2012 to 2021, Shah was the leader of a scheme that sold “business opportunities” or millions of dollars of “essentially non-existent services and products to elderly, unsophisticated consumers.”

The allegations overlap with Shah’s appearance on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Shah appeared in 53 episodes of the show, from 2020 to 2023.

The United States accused Shah and 12 others, some of whom have already pleaded guilty, of defrauding their victims. In particular, Shah was accused of intentionally targeting victims identified as susceptible to the scheme’s lies.

Speaking about the sentence, prosecuting U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said that Shah would finally face the consequences of her actions. “[Victims] were lured in by false promises of financial security, but in reality, Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings and left them with nothing to show for it,” the prosecutor said in a statement.

The government noted that Shah continued to defraud the public even after the Federal Trade Commission investigated and commenced enforcement actions and after learning that her co-conspirators had been arrested, pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme, and that two were convicted at trial. 

Instead of ending her gambit, Shah undertook increasingly extravagant efforts that were neither “short-lived” nor “narrow in scope” to conceal her criminal conduct from the authorities, the government said. Steps included directing others to lie, putting assets in the name of others, requiring cash payments, deleting of text messages and electronic documents, and moving her operations overseas.

In addition to the prison term, Shah was sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $6.5 million, 30 luxury items, 78 counterfeit luxury items, and to pay $6.65 in restitution.