RHOSLC's Jen Shah Just Changed Her Legal Strategy At The Last Minute

In a shocking twist — even by Bravo standards — "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star Jen Shah was arrested while filming in 2021. As cameras rolled on the rest of the cast preparing to travel to Vail, federal agents descended upon the vehicle in the hopes of finding Shah, who had just fled the scene. Authorities eventually located Shah and her long-time assistant Stuart Smith and placed them under arrest.

Shah was charged with operating a telemarketing scheme that scammed unsuspecting victims out of thousands of dollars. Shah's company reportedly offered the alleged victims business opportunities that served to collect their personal information, per Us Weekly. Shah would then reportedly turn around and sell that information to other scammers for a profit. In the past, there were questions about the Shahs' mysterious wealth, as her opulent lifestyle seemed out of sync with her husband's career as a college football coach. Shah mostly dodged the questions, claiming that she did something vague with internet ads.

After her arrest, Shah was released on a $1 million bail, per Page Six. She then pled not guilty to multiple federal charges involving wire fraud. Now, nearly 18 months after her arrest, Shah has started backtracking her legal defense in a major way.

Jen Shah's future is uncertain

When it finally came time for Jen Shah to appear in court, the "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star surprised everyone by changing her plea from not guilty to guilty, per ABC News. Since her initial arrest, Shah was adamant that this whole thing was a huge misunderstanding. "What I have been accused of is absolutely the complete opposite of anything I would ever do in my life," she said during an "RHOSLC" episode, per Us Weekly. "If I have any fault, it is because I am too giving, and I help too many people."

However, during a pre-trial hearing, Shah admitted to the court that there had been no misunderstanding and pleaded guilty to wire fraud. "I knew this was wrong. I knew many people were harmed, and I'm so sorry," Shah said in a New York court, per ABC. A guilty plea means that Shah is eligible for up to 14 years in prison — though she has yet to be sentenced. As part of the plea agreement, Shah consented to pay back more than $9.5 million to the victims of her crimes and an additional $6.5 million in penalties, per NBC News

Shah's "RHOSLC" castmates have shown their support by joining her in New York and fighting her critics on social media, per Page Six. In a since-deleted Instagram Story, Meredith Marks reminded fans that Shah was "innocent until proven guilty." Now that Shah has pleaded guilty, it's unclear if her castmates will continue to stand by her as she faces potential prison time.