There’s been a lot of comparisons between Jen Shah and Todd and Julie Chrisley‘s respective prison sentences. The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star received 6 and a half years after pleading guilty to wire fraud in a telemarking scheme that targeted the elderly, while Todd received 12 years and Julie 7 years for tax evasion and bank fraud. Many people — including Todd and Julie’s daughter, Savannah Chrisley — questioned why Jen, 49, got less time, when her crimes appear to be much worse than what Todd, 53, and Julie, 50, did. HollywoodLife spoke to Attorney & Former DA, Alphonse Provinziano, who told us in an EXCLUSIVE interview why Jen got a lighter prison sentence that the Chrisleys.
“In the Shah case, she entered into a plea bargain agreement with the prosecutor. In contrast, the Chrisleys took the case to trial and still maintain their innocence,” said Attorney Provinziano, a longtime Los Angeles family law attorney. “As a result, the punishment is not worked out in advance with the prosecutor, and oftentimes can be worse,” he also said.
Jen plead guilty for her alleged crimes last year and she’ll begin her prison sentence on February 17. Meanwhile, the Chrisleys never confessed that they allegedly tried to defraud banks and hide money from the IRS. The Chrisley Knows Best stars were denied bond after they filed to appeal their verdict and they entered their respective prisons on January 17.
“Todd and Julie are still fighting for their appeal,” Attorney Provinziano told HL. “Shah took responsibility and indicated that she had defrauded victims. This is something the court must consider, which is acceptance of responsibility and financial responsibility,” he addd. “The fact that the Chrisleys maintain their innocence is a factor that the court would consider aggravating since the jury has found that they were guilty of the charged offenses.”
Attorney Provinziano also confirmed that Jen and the Chrisleys being reality stars likely played a subtle role in the outcome of their respective legal cases. “The court system is supposed to be blind as to the parties, respective positions in life, reality star or very low-income person. Nevertheless, the fact that this case is in the media and there’s a spotlight on what is happening has to be in the back of everyone’s mind,” he said.
While Jen is intended to serve 6.5 years (78 months) in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, Attorney Provinziano explained that the Bravo star could get out early, either by winning her appeal, or with “good behavior.” Jen will serve her sentence in a minimum-security women’s facility in Texas.
As for the Chrisleys, Attorney Provinziano believes things are “looking bleak” for the couple, who are still trying to appeal their case. He said it would be a “high burden” for the Chrisleys’ attorneys to prove their argument that the government allegedly lied to the jurors in the tax fraud case.