Jen Shah is not quitting “Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City” just yet.
The reality star has been a cast member of the Bravo series since she debuted in its premiere season in 2020, alongside other original cast members Lisa Barlow, Mary Cosby, Heather Gay, Meredith Marks, and Whitney Rose.
Shah’s legal woes started on March 30, 2021, when federal authorities arrested and charged her with conspiracy to commit wire fraud via a telemarketing scheme plus a money laundering charge.
Many anticipated the mother of two’s tenure on the series to end due to her legal issues worsened by a recent guilty plea agreement. However, a source has now disclosed that the showrunners are not backing out at this time and will continue filming her story.
Jen Shah’s Wire Fraud Is ‘A Very Big Part’ Of ‘RHOSLC’ S3
Fans of RHOSLC will recall that Shah initially maintained her innocence after being arrested for the alleged offenses during season two of the show. Things were flipped on its head on Monday when she entered a guilty plea to wire fraud charges, raising the issue of whether she will appear in the forthcoming third season.
According to People, an insider close to the reality star claimed that the continuing lawsuit is “a very big part” of Shah’s story and that, despite how tricky things appear to be at the moment, producers and Shah have decided to keep the cameras rolling.
“Producers don’t want us to stop following it now,” the insider added. “They’ll keep filming with her as long as they can, just like they did with Teresa [Giudice].”
In terms of support, the insider said that the 48-year-old’s co-stars had been there for her at this trying time in her life.
“She’s had Meredith [Marks] and Heather [Gay] by her side, who have been very supportive of their friend during a difficult time,” a source told People. “Obviously, her legal troubles have not been easy for Jen, let alone making this decision to plead guilty.”
She Pleaded Guilty!
During her appearance on Monday before Judge Sidney H. Stein of the United States District Court in New York, Shah confessed to committing “wire fraud,” adding that her multiple marketing companies offered “services with little to no value.”
“We used interstate telephones and emails. I knew many of the purchasers were over the age of 55,” she continued, as per People. “I am so sorry.”
Shah’s acceptance of a guilty plea changes the length of the case as it keeps her from going to trial. It also helped her avoid the second count charge of money laundering, which would have brought on more prison time.
The proposed deal would require that the reality star repay $9 million in restitution plus an additional $6 million. Although the case is yet to be concluded, Shah is now facing up to 14 years in jail out of a maximum of 30.
Jen Shah Apologized For Her Actions
Shah’s wide-ranging telemarketing scheme defrauded hundreds of people throughout the U.S. Via her lawyer, Priya Chaudhry; the reality star issued an apology to her victims, who might never fully get back all they lost.
“Ms. Shah is a good woman who crossed a line. She accepts full responsibility for her actions and deeply apologizes to all who have been harmed,” the attorney told the publication.
She continued, “Ms. Shah is also sorry for disappointing her husband, children, family, friends, and supporters,” the lawyer continued. “Jen pled guilty because she wants to pay her debt to society and put this ordeal behind her and her family.”
People reported that Shah’s assistant Stuart Smith was charged with the same crimes as the reality star. While initially rejecting the allegations, he changed his mind in November 2021, submitting a guilty plea, and has yet to be sentenced.
Filming Continues For The Embattled Reality Star
Bravo’s decision to continue filming Shah despite her pleading guilty to a felony may raise some eyebrows. However, having first tried that angle with “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa, this is no longer an uncharted terrain for them.
The reality series recorded many parts of Teresa and her husband Joe’s legal drama when the duo was slammed with a 39-count indictment in 2013. The pair spent more than a year in jail, and Joe was deported after his release.
Shah has already gotten on with filming the upcoming series, returning to RHOSLC Season 3 in March, and was also seen in New York City with Gay and Marks plus a Bravo film crew before her July 11 court appearance.
Following the guilty plea, the reality star will receive her sentencing several months later, on November 28, 2022.