‘Housewives’ fans out in force ahead of Shah sentencing
Fans of the show came from near and far to attend Shah’s sentencing, including an Arkansas nurse who said she felt for the defendant’s two sons and victims.
“Her kids had no idea (about Shah’s telemarketing scheme) so this must be so awful to see their mom be scrutinized in public,” the nurse, Leah Sterneker, said. “All the negative attention the children must be getting.”
But the “Housewives” fan didn’t lose sight of the scheme’s victims, many who were senior citizens who lost significant money: “I’m a nurse and I work with the elderly a lot and money is tight.”
Not every “Housewives” fan had to travel hours to get to federal court in the Southern District of New York to take in Friday’s drama.
Matt Durkin, who is from the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, said he had little forgiveness to offer Shah.
“She has no remorse and knew what she was doing. She could have put her skills for good,” Durkin said. “Once I found out it was done on old people and Alzheimer’s patients it became a point of not return for me.”
Shah an early arrival
Shah pulled up to the federal court this morning at about 8:20 a.m. ET, more than 90 minutes ahead of her scheduled sentencing.
Wearing a beige outfit, the defendant did not stop to answer any questions shouted at her from a row of cameras outside the Manhattan courthouse.
Her two sons, Sharrieff Shah Jr. and Omar Shah, were also at the federal courthouse. The defendant’s husband, University of Utah assistant football coach Sharrieff Shah, was also with the family and he also declined comment.
Shah could be the second ‘Housewives’ star to do serious federal time
It’s not clear if an imprisoned Shah would have any future “Housewives” role — to have her seat kept warm ala famed New Jersey resident Teresa Giudice.
When the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Giudice was convicted of fraud in 2014, Bravo postponed filming of the seventh season of the show until her release.
During those 11 months she served, the network aired a three-episode spin-off, “Teresa Checks In,” which gave viewers a raw glimpse at the Giudice family’s struggles while their matriarch was at “camp.”
The show featured emotional phone calls between an incarcerated Giudice, her husband and four daughters during milestones she missed while away, like her eldest daughter Gia’s 8th grade dance and graduation.
In the premiere of the subsequent season of “Real Housewives,” cameras were rolling as Giudice left prison and was tearfully reunited with her family in her first moments back at home.
Shah should get 10 years in prison after guilty plea for wire fraud, feds say
The Justice Department is requesting a decade in prison for “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah ahead of her Jan. 6 sentencing for running a nationwide telemarketing scheme targeting seniors, according to newly filed court documents that also feature previously unreported victim impact statements from some of the elderly people she defrauded.
The Dec. 23 filing calls Shah, 49, “the most culpable person charged in this case,” and “an integral leader of a wide-ranging, nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that victimized thousands of innocent people.
“At the defendant’s direction, victims were defrauded over and over again until they had nothing left,” Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote. “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.”
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How much time will Shah actually spend behind bars?
There’s no parole in the federal prison system and good behavior credits are in short supply compared to most states.
The best-case scenario for any federal inmate would be to get a little less than 15% of his or her sentence slashed through good time credit.
So a 36-month (3 years) sentence could lead to Shah spending 30 1/2 months behind bars. A 120-month (10 years) sentence could mean 8 1/2 years in prison.
If she’s sentenced to prison, what would happen next?
It’d be highly unlikely that Judge Stein would remand Shah — a non-violent offender already out on bail — into custody immediately after sentencing.
More likely, Shah would be told a date, at least a month out, to surrender herself at a federal facility.
Once she’s sentenced, Shah’s fate falls into the hands of the Bureau of Prisons.
Most offenders seek to be housed close to home and the nearest women’s facilities to Salt Lake City would be FCI Dublin, east of San Francisco, or FCI Phoenix. But there’s no way to immediately tell if Shah’s still-to-be-determined security classification would fit at either of those facilities.
Her best hope would be to be deemed most appropriate for a minimum security camp.
“If she gets three years, and she’s pure white collar and there’s no violence involved, then there’s a good shot at a camp,” NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos said.
“A minimum-security camp, I mean even moving up to next level, which is still ‘low security’ that’s a huge difference. If you’re eligible for a camp, you’ll go to Alaska if you can go to a camp.”
Jessica Chastain: ‘I feel bad for everyone’
Oscar winner and “Housewives” fan Jessica Chastain expressed sympathy for Shah on Thursday night’s “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” on Bravo.
Cohen put Chastain on the spot, asking her view of Shah, and the actor said she was thinking about Shah’s sons who could be without their mother for an extended amount of time.
“I just feel bad for everyone involved. There’s a family and a little boy. It’s sad,” Chastain said.
Cohen referenced Shah again later in the “WWHL,” showing “Salt Lake City” footage of law enforcement agents approaching cast members looking for their suspect.
“Salt Lake City” airs on Wednesday nights and at the end of the most recent show, teased a clip for the next episode. Shah was shown cursing her co-defendant and one-time assistant Stuart Smith who pleaded guilty.