THE RISE AND FALL OF JEN SHAH: How 'RHOSLC' star went from big spender to big fraud
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH: If you thought 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' star Erika Jayne boasting about spending $40,000 per month on herself was extravagant, then 'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' star Jen Shah beat her to it by proudly declaring that she spent $50,000 per month. From having a team of assistants called "Shah Squad" always hovering around her and doing everything on her behalf to throwing lavish $80,000 worth of birthday parties for her friends, Jen always knew how to flaunt her wealth. While fans wondered how Jen had so much money, the housewife continued to win over fans with her dramatic behavior and flamboyant lifestyle.
Jen's popularity soon dropped when the housewife got arrested while filming for season 2 of the Bravo show. The reality star and her assistant Stuart Smith were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and also a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Though Jen initially declared she wasn't guilty, she later changed her plea to guilty and requested a 36-month jail time. As the skeletons began tumbling out of Jen's closet, the housewife's lavish lifestyle too began unraveling when she was forced to move into a smaller house and figure out a way to pay the hefty lawyer bills. Here's all you need to know about the rise and fall of 'RHOSLC's Jen Shah.
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Jen Shah's early life and marriage
As a Tongan and Hawaiian growing up in Salt Lake City, Jen Shah felt like she often stuck out in her traditionally white, Mormon world. When she learned about the historical mistreatment of black people in the Mormon religion, she converted from Mormonism to Islam. A mom of two with her husband, Sharrieff, Jen is the queen of her house. In an earlier episode of 'RHOSLC' Jen revealed that. Sharrief approached her while they were in college together. The coach reportedly fell in love with Jen at first sight and began pursuing her. Jen has been very vocal about expressing her pride in her Polynesian heritage.
Jen Shah's career and wire fraud case
The reality star and her assistant Stuart have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and also a conspiracy to commit money laundering. If found guilty, the duo could potentially be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison as the maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud is 30 years while conspiracy to commit money laundering comes with a maximum of 20 years sentence.
Jen never shied away from flaunting her extravagant lifestyle and wealth on 'RHOSLC'. From having a huge entourage of assistants to claims of needing $50,000 for her monthly expenses, Jen made sure that everybody knew she was rolling in money. According to The Sun, the housewife's net worth has been estimated to be $3 million. Fans were always curious to know where Jen was getting her money from, considering her husband Sharrieff Shah was only an assistant coach at the University of Utah. The housewife finally cleared up the air during the reunion by explaining to the host Andy Cohen that she worked in marketing. "My background is in direct response marketing for about 20 years, so our company does advertising," she said in response. "We have a platform that helps people acquire customers, so when you're shopping online or on the Internet, and something pops, we have the algorithm behind why you're getting served that ad."
Jen's explanation only ended up further confusing the fans who still weren't very sure about what the housewife did for a living. She also explained during the reunion that she owned three other businesses: JAX Fashion, Shah Beauty, and The Real Shah Lashes. There's no information available about how much Jen made through her business ventures, although it seems like she made a tiny fortune from her telemarketing fraud scheme. According to reports, Jen and Stuart were being paid a portion of profits from the money made through the "leads".
Jen, 48, had previously pleaded not guilty in April 2021. She changed her stance to guilty earlier this year. The housewife could face a prison sentence of up to 14 years, aside from the $6.5 million she agreed to forfeit and to pay restitution on almost $9,5 million. Jen told the court, "knew it was wrong, many people were harmed and I’m so sorry." She admitted that she “agreed with others to commit wire fraud” and “knew it misled” victims, who were mostly over the age of 55. When asked if she knew what she was doing was wrong and illegal, she replied, “Yes, your honor.”
Jen isn't the first housewife to get in trouble with the law over money laundering and wire fraud charges. 'Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice too was charged with similar crimes and was sentenced to 15 months in prison, although she was released just after 11.5 months.
'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' Season 3 airs every Wednesday at 8/7c on Bravo.