Whitney Rose, 36, was as surprised as anyone when her Real Housewives of Salt Lake City co-star Jen Shah, 49, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in a telemarketing scheme in July 2022. “At one point in time, I was like maybe she really did get screwed over, and people did this and turned on her,” Whitney told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY on the latest episode of the Pay Attention Puh-Lease! podcast. “She screamed innocence so loudly. And if we even tried to talk to her about it, she would get so mad and shut us down,” Whitney added.
In March 2021, Jen was infamously arrested and charged with fraud, for allegedly defrauding hundreds of mostly senior citizens out of millions of dollars. The cameras were rolling on season 2 at the time and Jen — who originally pleaded not guilty — insisted to Whitney, and the rest of their co-stars, that she was innocent. Jen has continued to maintain her innocence in season 3, which filmed before she pleaded guilty.
Whitney told us that the RHOSLC cast “didn’t have much information” about Jen’s financial situation before her arrest. “The problem with that is we would hear things in the community. Salt Lake City is small,” the Wild Rose Beauty founder explained. “We would hear rumors and we would hear things.”
Whitney also explained how “frustrating” Jen’s guilty plea was for her. “I feel like I went out of my way to support her, despite how she treated me. Through all of this she and I built an actual friendship for the first time this season,” Whitney told us. “So to have her kind of not tell anyone and just go in and plead guilty was shocking.”
“I thought she’d fight it to the end, based on what she was telling me,” Whitney added about Jen. “[She said] she’s innocent, she’s gonna fight it to the end. But there was breadcrumbs everywhere and none of it ever made sense. And so now it makes sense.”
Jen changed her not guilty plea to guilty on July 11, which will potentially save her 16 years in prison. The reported deal will force her to return $9 million to the hundreds of victims she defrauded plus an additional $6 million. Jen is facing up to 14 years behind bars, as she said she would accept her punishment as long as it is 168 months or less of prison time. Jen’s sentencing is scheduled for December 15.