Convicted felon Jen Shah doesn’t think she ‘belongs’ in prison


Disgraced “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” alum Jen Shah — who was convicted of running a decade-long, nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme targeting elderly people — doesn’t believe someone like her “belongs” in prison.

The former Bravolebrity — who surrendered to Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, on Feb. 17 to begin her six-and-a-half-year sentence — posted a new digital journal entry on Thursday from her second day in the slammer.

“As I stare into the dark, I think this has to be a dream — but here I am,” she penned on her official website.

“I keep thinking this is insane, completely ridiculous. Why am I here? I mean, I know why I’m here, but this just feels like someone like me doesn’t belong here. I’ve never been in trouble before.”

On her second day in prison, Jen Shah was overcome with the idea that she did not “belong” behind bars.
Alec Tabak

Shah, 49, said she had to “stop [herself] from going down this self-destructive path of thinking” and remind herself that she is locked up “because of [her] bad decisions.”

“I am here because I did this to myself,” she acknowledged, “and there is no one to blame but me.”

In addition to feeling “pain and guilt” for “creating victims,” the reality star shared that she was also filled with shame for “putting [her family] through this ordeal.”

“I keep thinking this is insane, completely ridiculous. Why am I here? … This just feels like someone like me doesn’t belong here,” the “RHOSLC” alum journaled.

“Their pain of having to watch me surrender yesterday, and now the beginning of what will be 78 months without me, is crushing my soul,” she explained.

Shah said she “cried silently on [her] top bunk bed” on her first night because her “chest was hurting as if [her] heart had broken in a million pieces.”

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“I laid in the dark alone with my thoughts of having to say goodbye to my family — to my sweet husband and boys,” she wrote of Sharrieff Shah Sr., Sharrieff Shah Jr. and Omar Shah.

“Sharrieff’s face was seared in my thoughts, remembering Omar’s tears as I hugged him tight, Sharrieff Jr’s face on FT as I said goodbye to him from the SUV before we arrived at Bryan FPC.”

Shah said she regretted “putting [her family] through this ordeal.”

Jen described feeling “shocked, stunned and scared” — but also “frustrated” when the phone system malfunctioned while she was trying to call her loved ones.

Trying to “stay patient,” Jen said she was reminding herself to “focus on what [she] can and cannot control.”

“That will be the key to my adjustment. I am not alone in my struggles, and I must remember that on days where I want to just see my husband and children,” she said.

“My eyes are filling up with tears. I go to the bathroom and cry so no one will see me.”

Shah is serving six and a half years at Federal Prison Camp in Texas for running a telemarketing fraud scheme.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The fraudster elaborated on the “horrible nightmare” of “having to say goodbye” to her “sweet” spouse and “precious” sons in an Instagram post shared hours earlier.

She told her followers she “could not breathe” and that her “hands went numb” as she approached the facility, saying she “knew [she] was having an anxiety attack” and that it felt like her “life was ending.”

Jen said Sharrieff Jr. reassured her “it would be okay” during their emotional FaceTime call from the car.

Shah had maintained her innocence from her March 2021 arrest until July 2022, when she changed her plea to guilty.

Reality seems to have set in for the reality star, whose attorney released a fairly confident statement before her client reported to prison.

Lawyer Priya Chaudhry told Page Six at the time that Jen was “prepared to face these challenges head-on and emerge from this experience a better person.”

Chaudhry further insisted that her client was “committed to serving her sentence with courage and purpose, fueled by her desire to make amends for the hurt she has caused and to help others in her new community.”

Jen had vehemently maintained her innocence from her March 2021 arrest until July 2022, when she changed her plea to guilty.

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2023-03-10 00:07:00