Jennifer Shah pleaded guilty in her telemarketing fraud trial on Monday, July 11. The 48-year-old reality star’s attorney withdrew the actress’s prior “Not Guilty” plea in Manhattan federal court. “At this time Ms. Shah would like to withdraw her plea of not guilty,” her lawyer Priya Chaudhry said, according to ABC News.
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star reportedly entered a plea deal, which will require her to pay back $9 million to the victims who were defrauded in her alleged telemarketing scheme. She’ll have to pay an additional $6 million, and she may be sentenced to serve up to 14 years in jail. She’s said that she wouldn’t appeal if her prison time is 168 months or less, per ABC News. By pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, prosecutors dropped her charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to Page Six.
“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,” Jennifer’s lawyer said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Ms. Shah is also sorry for disappointing her husband, children, family, friends, and supporters. Jen pled guilty because she wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.”
Jennifer also reportedly admitted she knew he actions were “illegal” to the judge. “Wire fraud, offering services with little to no value,” she told Judge Stein. “We used interstate telephones and emails. I knew many of the purchasers were over the age of 55. I am so sorry.”
The Bravo star originally pleaded not guilty, and if she lost, she could have faced up to 30 years in prison for the telemarketing scheme, which defrauded hundreds of victims. She was released on bail shortly after her arrest. Her former assistant Stuart Smith was also accused of participating in the scheme. He had also changed his plea in November. After Jennifer changed her plea to guilty, the judge asked if she understood that her scheme was illegal, and she said that she did. Her trial began on Monday after being postponed from March.
Jen was first arrested back in March 2021, while filming the second season of RHOSLC, and her arrest was caught on film. Her legal troubles were a major focus of the show’s second season. Her co-star Whitney Rose described the “pure shock” over the arrest in an exclusive interview with HollywoodLife in September. ““It was the most unexpected. It was terrifying because we didn’t know what was happening, but I just had never imagined that I would live through something like that. It seemed like it had come out of nowhere,” she said.