‘Real Housewives’ star Jen Shah talks why she didn’t take a plea deal in fraud case during reunion: ‘Innocent’


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Jen Shah revealed during Sunday night’s third and final installment of the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” Season 2 reunion why she didn’t take a plea deal in her ongoing fraud trial.  

“I’m fighting this. I am innocent,” she told host Andy Cohen and her castmates after Cohen pointed out the “success rate” of the New York State Attorney. 

“And I will fight for every person out there that can’t fight for themselves because they don’t have the resources or the means, so they don’t fight.” 

Shah continued, “I will fight because No. 1, I’m innocent and No. 2, I’m going to f—king represent every other person out there that can’t fight and hasn’t been able to.”

Jen Shah revealed during Sunday night’s third and final installment of the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” Season 2 reunion why she didn’t take a plea deal in her ongoing fraud trial.
(Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Shah is facing up to 50 years in prison for allegedly scamming people, targeting the elderly in particular, out of money through a widespread telemarketing scheme. 

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Her castmates and Cohen listened to Shah plead her case during the reunion episode, in which her friend, Heather Gay, publicly supported Shah. 

“I love Jen. I don’t care if she’s guilty or not,” Gay said. “I believe her, too. And I want the best for her and her family, and I’ll be in court every day and I will fight for her. She’s in the fight of her life.”

Shah defended her innocence on the third and final reunion of the "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City". 

Shah defended her innocence on the third and final reunion of the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City”. 
(Chad Kirkland/Bravo)

Gay, 39, added, “We got your back. We love you.”

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In March 2021, the reality TV star was arrested for alleged wire fraud and money laundering. The “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star and her assistant have been accused of running a telemarketing scheme that federal prosecutors say took advantage of hundreds of “vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.” 

The 48-year-old faces multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

The "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" supported Shah, with her friend, Heather Gay, speaking kind words on Shah's behalf.

The “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” supported Shah, with her friend, Heather Gay, speaking kind words on Shah’s behalf.
(Chad Kirkland/Bravo)

The wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, while the money laundering charge carries a maximum of 20.

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New York detective Christopher Bastos pulled Shah over as she was driving to a shoot in Utah and arrested her as a suspect in the telemarketing fraud case. But as Shah asked whether she was going to jail, she told officials that Bastos made her believe she “might be in danger, and that the police might be there to help me.”

At a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 15 in New York, federal prosecutors filed a motion asking a judge to allow evidence to be admitted for trial that the government says peels back the lavish curtain on how Shah spent alleged fraud money she stole from unsuspecting victims — many of whom are senior citizens — hid the funds, paid for an alleged fraud scheme and failed to declare the income to the Internal Revenue Service.

In March 2021, the reality TV star was arrested for alleged wire fraud and money laundering.

In March 2021, the reality TV star was arrested for alleged wire fraud and money laundering.
(Gabe Ginsberg/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

According to the legal filing, Shah was essentially low on cash and allegedly perpetuated the years-long scheme to fund her extravagant lifestyle. 

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The New York Police Department said in a statement in March 2021 at the time of Shah’s arrest that the number of victims Shah and her “first assistant” Stuart Smith had allegedly duped stood in the “hundreds” and noted that the alleged fraud had gone on for nearly a decade, starting in 2012.

Smith has since pleaded guilty for his involvement in the alleged nationwide fraud scheme and is set to be sentenced in March.

Fox News’ Julius Young and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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