Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah has pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges.
The reality star appeared in a New York court and switched her plea, taking responsibility for the charges.
She was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and faces up to 30 years in prison.
She agreed to forfeit $6.5million (£5.4million) and to pay restitution up to $9.5million (£7.8million),
Shah told Judge Sidney Stein she was pleading guilty to ‘wire fraud, offering services with little to no value.’
She added: ‘We used interstate telephones and emails. I knew many of the purchasers were over the age of 55. I am so sorry.’
Shah said she had offered ‘misrepresentations, regarding the value of the product or service, of which it had little to none.’
Asked if she knew it was ‘wrong and illegal’, Shah responded: ‘Yes, your Honor.’
The guilty plea means Shah will now not stand trial.
Following her plea, Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said: ‘Jennifer Shah was a key participant in a nationwide scheme that targeted elderly, vulnerable victims.
‘These victims were sold false promises of financial security but instead Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings and left them with nothing to show for it. This Office is committed to rooting out these schemes whatever form they take.’
Priyah Chaudhry, representing Shah, told Metro.co.uk in a statement: ‘Ms. Shah is a good woman who crossed a line.
‘She accepts full responsibility for her actions and deeply apologises to all who have been harmed. 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.’
In August 2021, Shah
Assistant US Attorney Kiersten Fletcher previously asked a judge to set a $1million bond secured by $250,000 (£181,000) cash or property separately for Shah and her alleged right-hand man and co-defendant Stuart Smith.
Fletcher told the court that the pair had ‘multiple shell companies’ and that just one of those had ‘received no less than $5million in crime proceeds over just the last few years of the scheme.
‘The government’s view is that Shah and Smith together controlled no less than $5million in crime proceeds that passed through just that one entity account. And there are other accounts in the name of other shell companies.’
It was alleged that Shah and Smith have been running a US-wide fraud scheme since 2012, selling services such as website designs that claimed to make the management of victims’ businesses more profitable or efficient, according to prosecutors.
The pair were also alleged to have offered to sell on the personal information of victims to other members in the ‘fraud ring’, with many of those targeted being over 55 years of age.
Metro.co.uk has contacted reps for Jen Shah for comment.
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