Jen Shah pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud Monday after The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star previously entered a not guilty plea, reports NBC News. Shah, 48, made a surprising change to her plea on July 11 during a court hearing in New York City after long maintaining her innocence publicly. As the Bravo personality has now pleaded guilty to wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney's office agreed to drop the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
"In 2012 to March 2021 in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere I agreed with others to commit wire fraud," Shah told Judge Sidney Stein on Monday while reading from a prepared statement, according to Good Morning America. "I knew this was wrong. I knew many people were harmed and I'm so sorry." Shah continued that there was a "misrepresentation of the product ... regarding value of the service," noting it "had little to no value." Asked if she knew what she was doing was illegal, Shah replied, "Yes, your honor."
Shah is facing a sentence of up to 14 years in prison and restitution of up to $9.5 million. The reality TV personality has agreed not to appeal if she is sentenced to 14 years or fewer in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 28. Shah's plea came as quite a surprise to people following the case, as she initially pleaded not guilty in April 2021, and maintained her innocence both on social media and on the second season of RHOSLC.
Shah and her assistant, Stuart Smith, were accused in March 2021 of committing wire fraud and money laundering in a scheme in which they "generated and sold 'lead lists' of innocent individuals for other members of their scheme to repeatedly scam," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said at the time. The pair were accused of defrauding older or computer illiterate people in a multi-state telemarketing and in-person scam between 2012 and 2021 that would sell "essentially non-existent" services to their customers and fight efforts to obtain refunds, the indictment further illustrated.