Reality TV stars who are currently in jail

Landing a role on a reality show is like winning a small lottery jackpot. Obviously, there are financial benefits, but there's also the intangible satisfaction of feeling like you found a backdoor into the entertainment business. While most reality TV stints are short-lived anyway, the stars on this list ended whatever chance they had at fame in a different way: by going to prison. Here are some reality stars who, as of this writing, are still stuck in the slammer.

Toby Willis

The Willis Family shot to fame in 2014 when they appeared on America's Got Talent, performing as a 10-piece family band, who played "their own Irish-flavored Christian country songs," according to The Daily Beast. The Willis' parlayed their AGT fame into their own eponymous TLC reality show, which ran for two seasons until it was canceled in May 2016. 

A strict patriarch who also "ran the soundboard for the family concerts," Toby Willis once said on the show, "I expect my kids to be the best, but the best involves a lifetime commitment."

Unfortunately, Willis didn't live up to the expectations he laid out for his own children when, five months after their TLC show ended, he was arrested and charged with one count of rape of a child, according to TBI Newsroom. Three additional counts were later added, and in July 2017, Willis pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape in connection with "a TBI investigation involving the rape of a 9- to 12-year old girl about 12 years ago," according to The Tennessean. Willis was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison: two 25-year sentences for two of the counts and two 40-year sentences for the other two counts, which he now serves concurrently.  

Renee Alway

Famous for America's Next Top Model and its spin-off series, Modelville, Renee Alway found herself far from the glamour of the runway when she was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2014. According to The Desert Sun, Alway pleaded guilty to "four burglary counts and one count each of vehicle theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm — all felonies — and a misdemeanor count of identity theft" related to her brazen Palm Springs crime spree during which she burglarized multiple homes and stole a woman's Mercedes and "personal information."

By entering a plea agreement, Alway avoided additional charges of "receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a forged check and resisting an officer."

Speaking with ABC affiliate KESQ during a jailhouse interview in 2015, Alway, a mother of three, relayed the story of how she became homeless and addicted to heroin after her modeling career failed to launch. "For the rest of my life I will feel the effects of what drugs have done to me," Alway said.

Will Hayden

It only took one hour of deliberation for a jury to convict Sons of Guns star, Will Hayden, on "two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape," according to The Advocate. Hayden's crimes spanned several decades, with one accuser claiming he "raped her twice in the early 1990s when she was 12 and 13," and another alleging that he "repeatedly raped her in 2013 and 2014 when she was 11 and 12."

He was sentenced to "concurrent life terms on the aggravated rape convictions and a consecutive 40-year prison term on the forcible rape conviction," which the judge ordered to be "served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence." In other words: Hayden, 51, will die in prison. But not before he faces possible additional charges stemming from accusations from his oldest daughter, Stephanie, who told Dr. Phil (Via Fox 411) that Hayden also abused her, another family member, and a friend. Ugh. Absolutely awful.

Joshua Tel Warner

Though his appearance on The Discovery Channel's crab boat docu-series, Deadliest Catch, was short-lived, it gave Joshua Tel Warner just the right amount of exposure needed to get himself tossed in prison. No, he didn't do anything wrong aboard Wizard, the vessel he worked on—except quitting for an arguably hilariously fake reason—but he bookended his televised fishing career with a mini bank-robbing spree that earned him nine and a half years behind bars, according to The Register-Guard.

"I don't think it was a particularly brilliant move on his part," said Deputy District Attorney Chris Parosa, who told The Oregonian that detectives apprehended Warner after viewers recognized him from surveillance footage that aired on local news.  

Warner's sentence was the result of a plea deal he took in May 2010, in which he copped to "three second-degree robbery charges" relating to the Eugene, Oregon banks he held up between 2007 and 2009. The deal reduced his sentence from a potential 30 years down to just under a decade, but it means he has no chance of early release.

"I know there's no reason that justifies a threat on a person's life for money," Warner stating during his apology to the bank tellers at his trial, adding, "No person deserves such distress." According to the Oregon Department of Corrections, Warner is scheduled for release on June 30, 2019.

Richard Wyatt

In 2011, Richard Wyatt somehow landed himself a reality show on The Discovery Channel about the daily operations of his gun shop, Gunsmoke, called American Guns. This is pretty remarkable, considering he'd forfeited his federal firearms license in 2009, according to The Denver Post. Nevertheless, the show continued for two years, as did Wyatt's gun dealing and gunsmithing business, which he was able to continue operating by processing transactions through another gun shop, Triggers, according to a press release from The U.S. Attorney's Office – District of Colorado.

On top of fraudulently selling firearms, Wyatt also failed to properly file taxes for both his personal income and businesses from the years 2009 to 2012, in an apparent attempt to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wyatt was arrested in March 2015 after an ATF raid seized "583 guns and ammunition" from his shop. In March 2017, after five days of deliberation, a jury found Wyatt guilty on two counts of "conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license," as well as seven of the tax-related charges.

Wyatt, who was out on bail, according to Westword, was immediately taken into custody up on his guilty verdict, and although his sentencing date was set for July 2017, it has not been reported as of this writing. However, the statement from the AG's office said that Wyatt would be facing "up to 5 years in prison per count for each of the two counts of conspiracy," and "not more than 1 year per count for each tax count," meaning he could be in jail for up to 17 years.

Mendeecees Harris

Love & Hip Hop: New York star, Mendeecees Harris, has long claimed that he was a small player in larger drug operation that was moving large quantities of cocaine heroin from New York City to upstate Rochester during the seven year period between 2005 and 2012. But instead of risking a possible 20 year sentence, he took a plea deal in December 2015 and got slapped with 97 months in the slammer. 

However, recent changes in federal sentencing guidelines provided a glimmer of hope for Harris for an early release, according to VH1, that is, until a judge ruled to uphold his original sentence despite the $170,000 dollars in restitution he paid and community outreach he performed.

Of course, Harris' January 2017 petition for a lighter sentence, which was obtained by TMZ, didn't really make a compelling argument if we're being honest. In the petition, he states that he was "never accused of setting prices;" that he did not have "knowledge of the entire drug operation;" and that he was just "collecting drugs from one party and handing them to another." Correct us if we're wrong here, but sounds like the exact definition of a drug dealer, right?

Joshua Allen

So You Think You Can Dance season four winner, Joshua Allen, was sentenced to one year in county jail in August 2017, following his no contest plea to "felony domestic violence and felony assault with a deadly weapon," according to TMZ. The charge actually stems from two incidents in which Allen attacked his ex-girlfriend (who already had a restraining order against him), first attempting to strangle her, and then two months later, attacking her again and chasing her into a coffee shop where he got into another altercation with bystanders, one of whom he threw a glass vase at, according to Deadline.  

Allen actually got off relatively light, considering TMZ originally reported that he'd been charged with "two felony counts of willfully injuring his girlfriend, one felony assault with a deadly weapon, and four misdemeanors related to battery, vandalism and violating the protective order," which meant that he could have faced "more than 10 years in prison."

Mike Skupin

Survivor contestant Mike Skupin may have gotten famous when he had to be medically evacuated from the reality show after falling into a fire, but he really got burned in 2016 when an investigation into claims that he was running a Ponzi scheme actually resulted in him being charged with possession of child porn.

Skupin maintained his innocence, according to People, claiming his "Pay It Forward" investment scheme was "not fraudulent," and that he was not the one who downloaded or accessed the pornographic images on the computer seized in the investigation, claiming there were "hundreds of people who had access" to it.

But a jury didn't buy it. In December 2016, Skupin was found guilty on four counts related to the child porn, after which, he pleaded no contest to the larceny charge in a separate trial. He was sentenced to "one to four years in prison" as well as four years of probation. In a statement to People, Skupin vehemently denied any wrongdoing, blaming "untruthful media" and "sensationalism" for creating "bias unfair judgements." He also vows to appeal his conviction.  

Timothy R. Zickuhr

In a crime that sounds like it's straight out of a Coen brothers movie, Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads star, Timothy R. Zickuhr, assaulted and kidnapped a prostitute name Snow White, then moronically walked right into an ad hoc sting operation she set up on the fly.

According to TMZ, it all started when Zickuhr gave Snow White his ATM card in order to pay for services rendered. He then accused her of taking too much money and arranged for a meeting the next day so she could pay him back. At this point, Zickuhr allegedly doused her with water, physically attacked her, restrained her, then locked her in a closet and "demanded a phone number for someone who could get him the money."

Ingeniously, Snow White then gave him the number of a Vegas cop, who Zickuhr called, demanding $1,000 or else he'd kill her. The cop arranged a meeting and arrested Zickuhr, who promptly admitted to being the world's dumbest criminal. He was eventually sentenced to "5 to 15 years in prison," after he plead guilty to "two felony charges of first degree kidnapping and extortionate collection of debt," according to Page Six