12/23/22 3 p.m. ET
Less than a week after Shah requested a reduced prison sentence of three years, the United States government recommended a judge sentence the Bravo star to 10 years behind bars.
In court documents shared on Friday, December 23, the government wrote that Shah “took a series of increasingly extravagant steps to conceal her criminal conduct from the authorities” and “engaged in a years-long, comprehensive effort to hide her continued role in the scheme.”
The docs continued: “For nearly a decade, the defendant was an integral leader of a wide-ranging, nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that victimized thousands of innocent people. Many of those people were elderly or vulnerable. Many of those people suffered significant financial hardship and damage. At the defendant’s direction, victims were defrauded over and over again until they had nothing left. She and her co-conspirators persisted in their conduct until the victims’ bank accounts were empty, their credit cards were at their limits, and there was nothing more to take.”
The government concluded that Shah is “the most culpable person charged in this case,” adding that her “belated expressions of remorse ring hollow.”
Original story below:
“The terrible business decisions I made and professional relationships I developed stemmed from some personal painful experiences that I was going through in my life,” the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City personality, 49, wrote in a four-page letter to the judge, which CNN obtained on Saturday, December 17.
Shah’s note — titled “How I got involved in the situation?” — revealed that she is hoping to receive a prison sentence of three years. The Utah native pleaded guilty to fraud earlier this year and is facing a maximum prison sentence of 30 years with five years of supervised release.
The entrepreneur and assistant Stuart Smith were arrested in March 2021 for their alleged roles in a telemarketing scheme that defrauded hundreds of victims, many of whom were older than 55 years old. While both Shah and Smith initially pleaded not guilty on all counts, the Bravolebrity changed her plea in July.
“In 2012 to March 2021 in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere I agreed with others to commit wire fraud,” Shah told Judge Sidney Stein during a hearing at the time, in which she noted that she knew her actions were “wrong and illegal,” according to Good Morning America. “I knew this was wrong. I knew many people were harmed and I’m so sorry.”
The former marketing professional — whose sentencing was postponed until January 6, 2023 — opened up about the fraud trial throughout RHOSLC season 3, which premiered in September. While Shah continued to maintain her innocence during the episodes, her future as a Housewife remains up in the air.
“She’s being sentenced on December 15, so I don’t know what to say to people who want her on the show,” RHOSLC executive producer Andy Cohen exclusively told Us Weekly in November, shortly before Shah’s hearing was rescheduled. “I hope that she gets no jail time whatsoever and she can come right back … but I have a feeling that she’s not going to be available to be on the show.”
The 54-year-old talk show host added: “[Her potential sentence is] a long time. Some people on Twitter were saying, ‘We want Jen next season.’ And I’m like, ‘OK, well, talk to the judge.’”
While neither Bravo nor Cohen have addressed a potential RHOSLC cast shakeup, Shah did not attend the season 3 reunion when it was taped earlier this month.
“On September 14, 2022, I was informed by Bravo executives that I was not invited to attend the Season 3 reunion,” the Shah Lashes founder alleged in a Friday, December 16, Instagram statement. “I was disappointed because I would have no venue to confront inaccuracies and address my storyline with cast members.”
Shah further alleged that the network changed their minds last month and invited her to share her perspective at the New York City-filmed reunion special.
“I was clear with Bravo that out of respect for the courts and a standing judicial order, I would not be in a position to discuss anything related to my legal case or sentencing,” she claimed in her Friday note. “Bravo found this unsatisfactory and said they expected to discuss this ‘storyline.’ That expectation has no regard for me or my family’s well-being; so under legal advice, I will not be attending reunion. I need to focus on the most important thing in my life — my family.”