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This Shah is Not That Shah: Indian News Agency Inaccurately Identifies Bravo’s Reality TV Star as Indian American

This Shah is Not That Shah: Indian News Agency Inaccurately Identifies Bravo’s Reality TV Star as Indian American

  • Jennifer Shah of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” who was sentenced to 78 months in prison for running a nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme, is of Tongan and Hawaiian descent.

In what can be called a case of mistaken identity, a leading Indian news agency has identified Jennifer Shah, the embattled star of the television series “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” as an Indian American. Shah, of Salt Lake City, Utah, is of Tongan and Hawaiian descent, according to her profile on Bravo, home of the reality series. Originally a Mormon, she converted to Islam after marrying football coach Sharrieff Shah. The agency report was widely published in the Indian media.

Earlier this month, Shah was sentenced to 78 months in prison for running a nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that targeted “vulnerable, elderly victims,” according to a Department of Justice press release. She pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for running a telemarketing scheme that defrauded elderly people out of thousands of dollars. In addition to the prison term, she has also been sentenced to five years of supervised release. The court also ordered her to forfeit $6,500,000, 30 luxury items, and 78 counterfeit luxury items, and to pay $6,645,251 in restitution, the DoJ said.

The DoJ said the reality show star “took a series of increasingly extravagant steps to conceal her criminal conduct from the authorities — she directed others to lie, she put businesses and bank accounts in the name of others, she required payment in cash, she instructed others to delete text messages and electronic documents, etc.” Since “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’” debuted in 2020, “Shah has flaunted her wealth on the show by throwing lavish parties and buying expensive clothes,” an NBC report said.

Shah was represented by well-known Indian American criminal lawyer Priya Chaudhry, the founding partner of the Chaudhry Law PLC. In a statement after the Jan. 6 sentencing, Chaudhry said her client “deeply regrets the mistakes that she has made and is profoundly sorry to the people she has hurt. Jen has faith in our justice system, understands that anyone who breaks the law will be punished, and accepts this sentence as just. Jen will pay her debt to society and when she is a free woman again, she vows to pay her debt to the victims harmed by her mistakes.”

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In July, she told Us Weekly that Shah is “a good woman who crossed a line.” She said Shah “accepts full responsibility for her actions and deeply apologizes to all who have been harmed.” Her client “pled guilty because she wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family,” she told the publication.

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