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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 6, 2023

Reality Show Cast Member Jennifer Shah Sentenced To 78 Months In Prison For Running Nationwide Telemarketing Fraud Scheme

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JENNIFER SHAH was sentenced today by United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein to 78 months in prison for running a nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme.  SHAH previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “With today’s sentence, Jennifer Shah finally faces the consequences of the many years she spent targeting vulnerable, elderly victims.  These individuals were lured in by false promises of financial security, but in reality, Shah and her co-conspirators defrauded them out of their savings and left them with nothing to show for it.  This conviction and sentence demonstrate once again that we will continue to vigorously protect victims of financial fraud and hold accountable those who engage in fraudulent schemes.”

According to the Superseding Indictment and statements made in court proceedings and filings:

From at least 2012 until her arrest in March 2021, SHAH was an integral leader of a wide-ranging, nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that victimized thousands of innocent people.  The scheme principally involved selling those victims so-called “business services” in connection with the victims’ purported online businesses (the “Business Opportunity Scheme”).  In particular, SHAH knowingly and intentionally facilitated the sale of “leads” — contact information for potential victims who had been identified as susceptible to the scheme’s lies — to sales floors that were perpetrating the Business Opportunity Scheme and, during the latter portion of her participation in the scheme, owned and operated one of the sales floors that was part of the scheme.

Many of SHAH’s victims were elderly or vulnerable.  Many of those people suffered significant financial hardship and damage.  At SHAH’s direction, victims were defrauded over and over again until they had nothing left.  She and her co-conspirators persisted in their conduct until the victims’ bank accounts were empty, their credit cards were at their limits, and there was nothing more to take.

SHAH was not deterred by the Federal Trade Commission’s investigations or enforcement actions, nor by learning that dozens of her co-conspirators had been arrested by federal law enforcement, pled guilty for their roles in the scheme, and that two were convicted at trial.  SHAH was not ignorant of these developments: she 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, she moved some of her operations overseas, and she tried to put computers and other evidence beyond the reach of investigators.  These efforts were not short-lived or narrow in scope.  She engaged in a yearslong, comprehensive effort to hide her continued role in the scheme.

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In addition to the prison term, SHAH, 49, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.  She was also ordered to forfeit $6,500,000, 30 luxury items, and 78 counterfeit luxury items, and to pay $6,645,251 in restitution.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of Homeland Security Investigations’ El Dorado Task Force.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher, Benet J. Kearney, Robert B. Sobelman, and Sheb Swett are in charge of the prosecution. 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
23-003
Updated January 6, 2023