Jen Shah's Victim Impact Letters Detail 'Everyday Struggle' After Fraud Scheme 'Turned Our Lives Upside Down'

Ahead of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star's sentencing, people caught up in her crimes share how the debt they incurred damaged relationships, spurred health crises and nearly led to suicide

A widow, a Vietnam War veteran and a man who say they were driven to homelessness by Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah's admitted financial crimes are making a simple request when she is sentenced next week: "Let the punishment fit the crime."

In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, victims detailed the consequences of the RHOSLC star's actions as part of a controversial telemarketing fraud scheme that — as Shah herself acknowledged when she entered her guilty plea in July — knowingly involved many people "over the age of 55."

When reached for comment about the victim impact statements, Shah's attorney Priya Chaudhry told PEOPLE: "Ms. Shah is devastated by the suffering she has caused these people. She vows to dedicate her life to trying to make each one whole."

A year and a half into an "exhausted, overwhelmed, and frustrated" widow's grieving period, she came across an email that appeared to be the solution to her problems. The services being pitched were for a tutoring course for a salaried sales position. She initially believed it would be "an investment into my future," but the dream situation quickly turned into a nightmare.

The widow writes that she was required to hand over thousands of dollars, noting how the individuals who tutored her through the service "charged a different amount." Though she was unable to keep up with the pace of the program and was not "confident enough" to proceed forward alone, she discovered she was being "snowballed" as the "e services tried to set up a business for me on a website" without her awareness.

She eventually began experiencing depression that she feared was "going to make me suicidal."

"Your sanity is in doubt, your confidence eroded, your independence, what limited amount there is, curbed and you can't trust anybody. You are not the same person you were before this experience," she wrote in one document. "Whoever these telemarketers are, should cease stealing money and repay what they stolen, and perform acts of restitution, such as living as we are, doing what we do with what limited resources we have, and pay for medical services, such as therapy or psychiatric meds."

She continued, "The mental anguish is still with me, today, and the guilt I harbor from being so vulnerable and easy prey to such sharks, still swim in my mind. I do not want the next person to suffer any of these mental anxieties, such as I have. What is normal? I do not know anymore. Let the punishment fit the crime, Replace what you have taken and correct the consequences, the action caused."

THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF SALT LAKE CITY -- Season:3 -- Pictured: Jen Shah -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/Bravo via Getty Images)
Chris Haston/Bravo via Getty

A 75-year-old retiree issued a letter to the courts on behalf of not only himself but "the many other seniors who were scammed by Mrs. Jennifer Shah." Years back, he received "an unsolicited call from Vision Solutions Management with promises of teaching and leading me to success with their coaching." The timing of this call came as he was trying to lift his booming business off the ground amid the digital age, and internet marketing wasn't his strong suit.

After undergoing "several weeks" of coaching, he was contacted by Vision Management Group — a company claiming to not be affiliated with Vision Solutions Management — to pick up where the first service left off. But he eventually grew suspicious when Position Gurus, 5 Star Quest and MPG were all reaching out to him "because each business followed in sequence of what would have been the next steps for sales."

He then noticed how multiple things appeared to be "duplicated" across the services. Later, he realized he had been "conned" and "wasted about $40,000 trying to do good for my family."

"Each person scammed has their own story with a dream of a better retirement and life. That was taken away when they were [coerced] to give their money for false promises," he continued. "Please consider the suffering caused to these seniors possibly because of now not having the money for food, medicine or medical treatment they need. All who had their money stolen cannot use that money to increase their quality of life in retirement.

He added, "Please consider this when passing judgment on Mrs. Jennifer Shah. Her 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]. You are the Judge. I request that your judgment carry the same hardships she has caused her victims."

Randy Shropshire/Bravo

An individual who was once "excited ... about beginning a new career" in 2017 now feels their "overall health is forever changed" by Shah's scheme. After an unsuccessful online job search, they received a call from one of Shah's partners about launching an e-commerce business from home. She agreed because the opportunity "seemed promising and legitimate," leading her to buy "several services."

"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 victim wrote. "I had accumulated a little over $35,000 in credit card debt by early January 2018, with no profits to show. It all felt so surreal."

Even though they "worked diligently by devoting more than 10 hours a day" to their business, they still were unable to turn a profit. They eventually realized they had been scammed, but "it was too late because Jennifer and her partners already had my money."

They "worried all the time" about their financial situation, losing sleep over it all and eventually suffering a heart attack "brought on by extreme stress" that required them to take four separate medications. The individual eventually began practicing relaxation techniques and continued to work on their e-commerce business. However, they were suddenly "locked out of my own website for several weeks." Upon regaining access to the website, their hard work vanished as the "website's hosting service had changed hands."

As a result, they believe they should receive full restitution for what they invested and lost in Shah's services. The victim also feels that Shah should not only "pay restitution," but she should be given "the maximum prison sentence allowed by law."

Jen Shah
Andrew Peterson/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

A fourth person detailed "the emotional, mental, physical and financial anguish" Shah's scheme has done not only to him but also to his 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. What I thought started out to be an investment in a company that I could pass on to my children if the business got off the ground successfully, ended up almost ruining ALL OF OUR LIVES," they wrote. "When I thought you were all legitimate business people, helping me start out a new business that would be a great venture, totally turned our lives upside down within a very short period of time."

He said he lost more than $100,000 "due to the cost of starting up the business, [their] educational programs to get a successful business going, supplies, amongst other things and taxes." Because of it, he had to re-mortgage his home and his marriage almost ended in divorce. They even had to "make excuses as to why I had so many bills I had to pay." He also contemplated ending his own life but said he didn't want his problem to become a "financial burden" for his family.

He directly addressed Shah in the victim impact statement: "You sounded sympathetic and convincing, so I trusted you. I was such an idiot. The courts may have some form of punishment for the lawless activities that have been committed, but even when you have served your due punishment, whatever that may be, our God and heavenly creator of all things will be the one, in the long run, who you will truly have to answer to."

Jen Shah
Jen Shah. Chad Kirkland/Bravo/ Getty

A fifth victim said they eventually became homeless due to Shah's scam. They accumulated over $30,000 in debt. "I could go on and on but the point is I have the problem of faith and trust," they added.

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In March 2021, Shah, 49, and her assistant, Stuart Smith, were arrested in Utah for allegedly orchestrating a phone scam to defraud people over the age of 55. She initially maintained her innocence before later entering a guilty plea in July.

On Dec. 23, the United States government requested that she receive 10 years in prison, calling that a "sufficient" punishment. Shah is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 6.

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