Jen Shah‘s fraud victims have submitted a series of devastating impact statements in regard to the financial, emotional, and physical distress they endured after being conned into her reported telemarketing scheme.
As prosecutors hope to see Real Housewives of Salt Lake City cast member spend 10 years behind bars for the fraud crimes she pled guilty to in July (and she requests a three-year term), several victims have come forward with heartbreaking stories of suicidal thoughts, health crises, and more.
“Victim statements regarding Jen Shah’s case are proving to be extremely emotional,” Bravo Housewives of Instagram reported on December 25. “Many victims, typically elderly, are alleging that they lost life savings and had severe health problems due to financial woes and other factors.”
In an additional post, attorney Ronald Richards shared a link to the victim’s impact statements against Jen, who will be sentenced on January 6.
“Here are the victim impact statements for Jen Shah,” he wrote in an update to a previous post. “They are heartbreaking. This is real, not reality TV. She, like other prior [housewives], has a hard time taking any responsibility [and] only settles when they can’t win legally or their income is effected.”
In one impact statement, a recent widow came forward, revealing they were scammed about “half a year into [their] grief period,” and recalling feelings of being “exhausted” and “overwhelmed” with paperwork pertaining to the bureaucracies of widowhood when they were contacted about an opportunity they felt would be an “investment into [their] future.”
Although the widowed victim hoped to turn over a new leaf after their loss, the supposed “investment” ended up costing them.
“I was snowballed and didn’t even know it,” they admitted, noting they’d paid tons of money to a company that failed to provide them with the necessary tools to make the money they were promised.
“I thought my depression was going to make me suicidal. [I] was so fearful, I was afraid of leaving the house or using my computer and phones for weeks on end,” they shared.
After explaining what had occurred to their sons, the person was advised to cease all communications with the company and ask for a refund. They also were told to put a stop payment on future transactions and contact the police. However, the authorities “didn’t do much” but take down information that was shared online.
“I felt like a fugitive and phobic about everybody, almost paranoid about who is after me … I couldn’t sleep at nights for fear somebody might come and roust me out of my house and sue me, then I would be left in poverty,” they stated. “The mental anguish is still with me today.”
Someone else, described as a 75-year-old retiree who lost their spouse in a swimming accident in Vietnam shortly after the birth of their second child, was hoping to launch a business when they were contacted by a company who made “promises of teaching and leading me to success with their coaching.” But after things weren’t lining up and she began asking questions, she realized she had been “conned.”
“I wasted about $40,000 trying to do good for my family,” she wrote in her own statement, saying that the RHOSLC cast member’s”restitution and time served should put her into the same or similar hardship as her victims.”
“It was her choice to commit the crime for fame, drinks, fun, and [luxury],” she noted.
Another person came forward with “financial stress,” as well as “emotional and physical stress,” sharing that they were excited to start a new career after receiving a call from “one of [Jen’s] partners” but ultimately accumulated over $35,000 in credit card debut in just three months.
“This was the biggest mistake I had ever made in my adult life because from that point on, my life began to spiral out-of-control,” the person stated.
After months with “no profit,” the person realized she was “being scammed.”
“But, it was too late because [Jen] and her partners already had my money,” the former special education teacher explained. “Sleeping at night became increasingly difficult because I constantly worked about my financial situation. I only had a small pension. It was not enough to pay my mortgage, utilities, household expenses, and the monthly credit card payments.”
Ultimately, the woman’s stress led to not one, but two heart attacks as she continued to be contacted by the company and pressured to spend thousands more.
A different victim lost over $100,000 and was forced to remortgage their house.
“I can’t begin to tell you the emotional, mental, physical, and financial anguish this has put on me, as well as my family. I almost lost everything that I worked for, as well as my life and almost cost me my marriage as well as ruining my kids’ lives for eternity,” the person shared in their statement.
According to the unidentified person, they receive threatening phone calls saying that the FBI was looking for them and that they’d soon be arrested, which led to severe anxiety, severe headaches, and “no sleep for months.” In fact, the threats, paired with their mounting debt, became so intense that they were scared to tell their own family.
“I was not only sick because of the threats, but now I had a severe debt that had to be looked after,” she noted, saying she could no longer vacation with their kids or husband and had taken extra shifts at work to help compensate.
“[But it] wasn’t near enough,” she continued. “I thought about ending my own life, but that was also not a solution as the financial burden would now be their financial burden … I will never be able to recover financially for many years to come, that’s if I ever, really, fully recover.
Another person recalled how they were pushed into a debt of “$30,000 or more” and forced to live in homeless shelters.
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City season three airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Bravo.