The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Meredith Marks, 50, has broken her silence on Jen Shah‘s guilty plea to wire fraud. “Obviously I’m surprised. I think probably everybody’s surprised,” she said on the #NoFilter with Zack Peter podcast on Aug. 17. “I don’t think anyone was expecting that.”
Meredith, Jen, and Heather Gay were spotted spending time on New York City’s High Line attraction in the Hudson Yards in July just days before Jen, 48, pleaded guilty, but Meredith admitted she has had minimal contact with her co-star since. “We’ve texted a little, but I have not had any conversations with her,” she revealed. “I’ve been out of the country and she’s now been getting her oldest son settled at medical school and so I have not actually talked to her.”
While on the podcast, Meredith also took the time to defend herself for staying close to Jen leading up to her guilty plea, despite the odds looking against her. “Honestly, I had a post on my Instagram feed, a photo with me and Heather and Jen in it and there were a lot of really vicious comments, calling Jen a criminal and all these things,” she recalled. “That may be the case if you want to say that now, but when someone hasn’t pleaded guilty and they haven’t had a trial, it’s not up to me or anybody other than the jury in that case — because it was slated to be a jury trial — to make that determination.”
Jen was taken into federal custody in March 2021 for her involvement in a telemarketing scam that defrauded hundreds of people out of millions of dollars. While she originally pleaded not guilty, she reversed her decision during her July 11 court date. “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 told People at the time. “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.” The Real Housewives star’s guilty plea is reportedly part of a deal that will make her maximum prison sentence 14 years, rather than 50. She is also expected to return the $9 million she stole from victims in addition to a $6 million fee.
Despite the guilty plea, a source told People that Bravo still plans to keep the cameras rolling on Jen, which Meredith also said shocked her. “Whether you are guilty or not, it is so easy to say something that could be spun to incriminate you,” she reasoned on the #NoFilter podcast. “And I just think it’s kind of scary. I mean, I think it’s really gutsy that she stayed on. I do. I don’t think I could under those circumstances.”
Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen, 54, previously aired out his frustrations about Jen’s guilty plea. “I’m upset, and I’m especially upset for her victims,” he said on the July 13 episode of his Sirius XM show, Radio Andy. “I’m upset that she lied for so long and claimed to me that she was an example of someone being wrongly accused.”