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Jen Shah Stopped Paying Her Lawyer After 78 Month Sentence Now Minetto Denied Release

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Order Vlog

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 9 –  Five defendants in a telemarketing scheme were presented past 8 pm on November 20, 2019 in the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Jan 6, 2023 sentencing extras on Patreon here

The government proposed that while they could be released on their own signatures that night, but asked that they get pre-approval from Pre-Trial Services for any expenditure above $10,000. 

 On April 2, 2021 Jen Shah of Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City was arraigned in the same case - and a $1 million bond, with $250,000 of it secured by case or property, required. Inner City Press live tweeted that, below.

On December 16, 2022 Shah's lawyer in a heavily redacted submission asked for 36 months, far below the plea deal. Exhibit list  along with redacted statement by Jen Shah on Patreon here.  Inner City Press emailed opposition to the redactions, to Shah's lawyer (no response) and elsewhere - then filed it.

On January 4, Judge Stein ruled: "ORDER as to Jennifer Shah. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant Shah is directed to respond to the application of Inner City Press [Doc. No. 648] to unseal certain portions of Shah's sentencing memorandum and an exhibit to the government's sentencing memorandum in writing on or before 12:00 p.m. on January 5, 2023. (Defendant Responses due by 1/5/2023) (Signed by Judge Sidney H. Stein on 1/4/2023)."

On January 5 at noon, Shah's lawyer filed not any unredacted memo, but a threat to withdraw the exhibits if Judge Stein rules in favor of Inner City. Letter on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

Less than an hour later, Inner City Press filed a reply: "   This replies to defense counsel's argument that the sentencing materials submitted for the Court's consideration can be withdrawn. But they are judicial documents. And citing to pre-guilty plea rulings on motions in limine is unavailing.   Most offensive is the claim that Exhibit D, the defendant's own statement asking for a substantially below Guidelines sentence, has been redacted in conformity to rules and precedent. It has not.   The second paragraph starts, "In 2016, my life hit a serious crossroad" - then three lines are redacted. The third paragraph begins with a sentence about the defendant's husband - then a full page is redacted.    This is unheard of. Contrast it to the January 4, 2023 resentencing of Raymond Quiles, who cooperated with the government about and was ready to testify against this defendant. The courtroom was not sealed; his arguments for mercy, about his autistic son (whose name was given) and his floundering business were all public.   Why should Jen Shah be given substantially more secrecy than Raymond Quiles?    This statement, intended to procure a lighter sentence, cannot be withdrawn and must be unredacted."

On January 6, Jen Shah was sentenced to 78 months in prison, after Judge Stein largely granted Inner City Press' application to unseal (though not, it seems, until January 9). Inner City Press live tweeted, thread here and below.

On May 11, 2023, Judge Stein ordered forfeiture: "FINAL ORDER OF FORFEITURE as to (19-Cr-833-11) Jennifer Shah. WHEREAS, on or about December 15, 2022, this Court entered a Second Consent Preliminary Order of Forfeiture as to Specific Property (the "Second Preliminary Order of Forfeiture") (D.E. 643), which ordered the forfeiture to the United States of all right, title and interest of JENNIFER SHAH (the "Defendant") in the following property" - full 10 page list on Patreon here.

Jump cut a full year forward: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Sidney H. Stein: Status Conference as to Joseph Minetto held on 5/9/2024. Defendant present with attorney Michael Sporn; for the government Robert Sobelman presen. Argument held regarding defendant's motion for compassionate release [Doc. No. 789]. For the reasons set forth on the record, the motion is denied. Defendant remains in custody."

On March 24, 2023, Shah's lawyers filed a motion, saying she stopped paying them though "Defendant and her husband repeatedly promised to pay these outstanding amounts."

On April 6, after Judge Stein (who previously on Inner City Press' motion ordered unsealing of Shah's sentencing memo) ordered the figures files, this: "We represented Jennifer Shah. On March 24, 2023, my firm filed a motion to withdraw as counsel based on Ms. Shah’s unpaid fees and expenses. (ECF No. 691). Yesterday, Your Honor ordered my firm to provide the unpaid amounts owed by Ms. Shah by today, April 6, 2023. (ECF No. 698). Accordingly, we submit this letter. Ms. Shah owes $50,000.00 in unpaid fees and $74,422.95 in unpaid expenses. Thus, the total Ms. Shah owes my firm is $124,422.95."

On April 10, Judge Stein permitted withdrawal: "ORDER as to Jennifer Shah: Chaudhry Law PLLC's motion to withdraw as counsel for defendant in this action is hereby granted. Attorney Seth Jason Zuckerman; Priya Chaudhry and Beth Mina Farber terminated in case as to Jennifer Shah. (Signed by Judge Sidney H. Stein on 4/10/2023)."

From January 6, 2023:

OK - now sentencing in US v Jen Shah, Inner City Press twice filed to get her statement(s) to Judge Stein unsealed, she's threatened to withdraw them 

It's starting (at least) 28 minutes late. Now Jen Shah, at defense table, is whispering into the ear of her lawyer. We are awaiting Judge Stein.

All rise!

Judge Stein: ... These are in fact judicial documents, that is what I have discussed with the parties in the robing room. There will be certain redactions but the rest will be released.

 Judge Stein: Ms. Chaudhry, in your submission you argue there should be a downward variance. I think a variance below 130 months will be appropriate. But I do not intend to sentence Ms. Shah to 36 months, either. So it will be sometime between the two.

Judge Stein: Jen Shah's role on the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, which I guess is why the courtroom is so full today, is just that, a role. People should not confuse the character she plays on an entertainment show to the person before me. Alright.

 Priya Chaudhry: Let me introduce those who have traveled to support her: her husband, her two sons -- Judge Stein: The younger son has a football scholarship, right?

Chaudhry: ... Autumn, her sister in law; her cousins, mother in law & sister in law, her therapist Priya Chaudhry: We are here for those who had lost so much. Five have put it into words, but there are more.  They lost money. They worked hard, and their lives are mangled. They never spoke with Jen Shah.. Judge: Because she was too high in the conspiracy

Judge Stein: She was too important to talk to the victims. She was a leader of this conspiracy. So this cuts against you, not for you. Priya Chaudhry: Ms. Shah acknowledges everything you say as true. She will always remember their names. She grew up poor.

 Chaudhry: Jen has spent month reading the names of those she has hurt. She has prayed for their forgiveness. But she cannot forgive herself. Jen understands she cannot undo the pain or repay them today - but today is about justice for them. Measuring the pain.

Judge Stein: Does she still have the Justice for Jen merchandise on her website? Chaudhry: Not anymore. The information we submitted is largely confidential. I will not be presenting it in open court.

 Chaudhry: Jen hoped that the TV spotlight would hide her pain. She spent years trying to hide her feeling, to fake it until she make it. She tried not to see the people who lost money. Her original fraud was on herself

Judge Stein: Her activity in this crime took place years before the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City started. So you are saying her hunger for trinkets predates the show? Chaudhry: Yes. She was lost. Then in July she say the information from the victims

 Chaudhry: She SAW the info from victims, and pled guilty. She began on Hawaii, a land of elders. Now elders, her victims, are teaching her. She regrets the mistakes she has made. She is sorry. She had faith in our justice system. Jen will pay her debt to society

 Judge Stein: She moved her operations to Cyprus and Kosovo, after the FTC investigation, and the indictment in the other case [USA v. Ketabchi et al, 17-cr-243

 Chaudhry: Ms Shah looked at the good things her company was doing -- Judge Stein: What good things were telemarketers doing, calling elderly people, taking advantage of their lack of computer skills, selling business opportunities & maxing out their credit cards?

 Judge Stein: It seems she does good work for the Tongan community, I'll take that into account. But you are going to have a hard job if what you're trying to do it tell me this long lie and fraud had good to it. Chaudhry: There was a prior version of it

Judge Stein: Her plea is for a conspiracy from 2012 to 2021- Chaudhry: She was involved before then, before it was telemarketing. You make an important point. Because these lists of name were just computer files, Ms. Shah didn't see them, she didn't speak to them

 Chaudhry: In closing, Ms. Shah will celebrate her 50th birthday in a federal prison- Judge Stein: How old is she now? Chaudhry: 49. You will decide how long. Then she will try to make whole those who lost money. She will once again make her elders proud

Judge Stein: There is a need for general deterrence, and I must compare her sentence to those of others, less responsible that she was. She was a leader of the conspiracy. How do you suggest I use general deterrence?

Chaudhry: This is a group of bandits, NJ to Arizona -- Judge Stein: Including your client, right? Chaudhry: Yes. They are watching the sentences. Judge Stein: Even after sentences in the Ketabchi case, your client continued. Chaudhry: She was in denial.

Chaudhry: Your Honor had a sentencing in the other case this week, most didn't know about it 

 Chaudhry: People have seen Ms. Shah on the show, it is general deterrence. Judge Stein: What would the government like to tell me? Then Ms. Shah. Assistant US Attorney Robert Sobelman: That she didn't see, that's absurd. She ran a floor in New York half the time

AUSA Sobelman: Many of her co-defendants were drug addicted. Ms Shah worked hard, making as much money as she could for herself, defrauding the elderly. Every cooperator told us, Jen Shah is the boss. They all knew who she was.

 AUSA: Jen Shah was laughing in text message, asking "Did you get her to stop crying," about an 80 year old woman. She told people how to do it. It was a brazen fraud. She opened her own floor, she moved things overseas, she starts dealing in cash

 AUSA: Nothing like it has been seen in this case before. There is not only message from her that expresses any type of remorse, not 1. The defense hasn't submitted any. That's not how she felt even when she pled guilty. Our evidence was devasting, a month of trial

AUSA: The idea that it was witness statements that impacted her, and not our evidence, is hard to believe. She says she's turned a new leave. We're not so confident. She mocked the victims, she wrote, "You're making her fall in love with you."

AUSA: In her plea agreement, she admitted to being a leader of the conspiracy. Unlike others, Jen Shah lived a life of luxury. She didn't even need money. Her husband made a very good living. She didn't need to do the fraud, but she did it. She wanted that money

 AUSA: Even after arrest, she just sold merchandise. It's an aggravating factor. There were young and disabled people in your case earlier this week

AUSA: We proposed 120 months, which is a downward variance. Below that would be a disparity. Another, less culpable, got 72 months. Jen Shah committed obstruction, of the FTC and out investigation. Judge Stein: She communicated with the deponent. AUSA: Correct.

 AUSA: Her goal was not to help the co-defendant, but to keep herself out of it. I'll close about the victims. We traveled to California and elsewhere to speak with them. They are older, vulnerable women, targeted by the defendant. They will suffer

 AUSA: I only met with a few. There are thousands, of victims. There are more than a thousand on the restitution order. The call for punishment here is grave. Judge Stein: Ms. Shah, I'm prepared to listen to you. Jen Shah: You and the world know me as Jen Shah.

 Jen Shah: But reality TV has nothing to do with reality, even my tagline, Shah-mazing - they wrote it. I want to speak about who I am (sobs) I stand before you as an immigrant from Tonga and Hawaii. The elderly command the most respect. I am the family matriarch

Jen Shah: The principles are humility and loyalty and respect. I have come to terms I have gone against these. I am sorry. My actions have hurt innocent people. I want to apologize by saying, I am doing all I can to earn the funds to pay restitution.

 Jen Shah: I would say each victim's name if I could. But Federal privacy laws prevent it. Judge Stein: How will you raise the $6 million in restitiution? Jen Shah: My manager is here, we're working on things. Judge Stein: While in prison? Jen Shah: Yes. Judge Stein: You're still in the cast? Jen Shah: Yes.

 Jen Shah: I sold merchandise about this case through a third party vendor. I will devote it to the victims. Thank you for reviewing my sensitive information. Longstanding untreated mental issues caused me to create my own fractured reality

 Jen Shah: This is a crucible moment for me. With the proper medication I can now see what happened. I wish I could have stood outside myself. I am sorry. I have found solace in my volunteer work, with anti racism organizations and the LGBT community

 Jen Shah: To my baby Omar, Mommy is so sorry you were woken up at gunpoint. My late father, I want to tell him I am sorry. I am humbled by your love for me. Thank you Judge Stein.

Judge Stein: Thank *you.* Anything else? Chaudhry: No. Judge Stein: My intention is to impose a sentence of 78 months of incarceration, and other conditions. Any formal objection to the procedure?  Chaudry: No.

Judge Stein: Please rise.... Guideline range 135 to 168 months. I sentence you to 78 months. Judge Stein: I'm concerned Ms. Shah that you said your manager is here, if you intend to profit from this procedure. There should be no intention to profit from this crime. I assume the government will take steps to effectuate this. Assets in Kosovo or Cyprus?

Judge Stein: Forfeiture of $6.5 million. The filings also speak of bags and other items. There is no question that from 2012 and 2021 Ms Shah was in a conspiracy that took tens of millions of dollars from elderly people. She ran a sales floor

 Judge Stein: That she says she didn't speak to the victim, it was only because she was high up in the conspiracy. I do remember some of the text she sent belittling the victims. She brazenly continued and hid her activities including moving operations overseas

Judge Stein: I did not sentence Ms Shah as the government requests. But I do believe it takes into account all of the factors of 3553a... I'm keeping you on supervised release for five years, Ms Shah, to make sure you don't end up committing another crime

Judge Stein: Ms. Shah, you have the right to appeal. Just tell Ms. Chaudhry. Any underlying indictments or counts? AUSA: We move to dismiss Count 2. Judge Stein: I grant the motion. Surrender to prison on February 17, 2023.

Chaudhry: Ms Shah's manager is here as a friend. And please designate her to prison in Texas, it has RDAP and is closest minimum security --

Judge Stein: I am not going to designate a specific facility. I'll just say Texas region.

Vlog here. Watch this site.

 On January 4 at 3 pm Inner City Press went to cover the re-sentencing of Raymond Quiles, described as a cooperator against Jen Shah and others, under a different docket number.

  Quiles' lawyer, after conferring with the Assistant US Attorney, asked Judge Stein to seal the courtroom. Inner City Press said that it opposed the request. After standing in the hall while arguments were presented - it is not clear if the US Attorney's Office joined in the request - Inner City Press was invited by in, and stayed.

  It was a proceeding under Rule 35(b)(2)(b) of the FRCrP, for cooperation after sentencing. The initial sentence, in 2019, for was a year and a day. But it was put off. Now Quiles returned, seeking no jail time. He cited family issues, remorse, and willingness to testify against Jen Shah.

  While Probation suggested three months in prison, Judge Stein gave weight and mercy to the family situation - an autistic son - and imposed six months of home confinement, the start of two years of supervised release, and 160 hours a year of community service, which Judge Stein suggested should be to help prevent fraud.

 At the end, Judge Stein said he didn't seen incarceration as needed for Quiles, that "general deterrence looms larger in the cases of those with larger public profiles."

This case is USA v. Ketabchi et al, 17-cr-243 (Stein).

On December 23, the US Attorney's Office countered, saying Shah "is the most culpable person charged in this case" and asking for 120 months. We'll have more on this.

On December 15, 2022, in the run-up to Jen Shah's sentencing pushed to January 6, a forfeiture order was filed listing the handbags and other goods seized she will be forfeiting - Order on Patreon here.

On July 11, 2022, a week before trial, at 10 am this was sent out by the prosecutors: "10:30 a.m. – proceeding of interest in U.S. v. Jennifer Shah – the defendant is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and conspiracy to commit money laundering – before Judge Stein (courtroom 23A, 500 Pearl Street)." It connoted a guilty plea, as Inner City Press immediately noted - before going and live tweeted it, here: (then vlog here)
(and now plea deal on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here)

From July 11: Ok - Jen Shah of RHOSLC is here in Courtroom 23A, it's for "change of plea" (to guilty). Inner City Press has been covering the case, even before Shah was added to it, and will live tweet, thread follows:

All rise! Judge Sidney Stein: Ms. Shah, do you wish to plead guilty to Count 1 of the indictment?

Shah: Yes, your Honor.

Judge Stein: I will need to ask you certain questions... Judge Stein: If there were a trial, you could see and hear all the witnesses against you and your attorney could cross examine them. Do you understand those rights?

 Shah: Yes, your Honor.

Judge Stein: You will be giving up all of these rights and there will be no trial - do you understand? Shah: Yes your Honor. Judge Stein: Did you read the indictment? Shah: Yes I did.

 Judge Stein: You are charged in Count 1 with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing, do you understand? Shah: Yes your Honor. Judge: AUSA Fletcher, set forth the elements. AUSA: An agreement to violate the law, and entered it knowingly

Judge Stein: Do you understand that the maximum penalty is 30 years in prison? Shah: Yes your Honor. [Presumably there is a plea agreement that will be made public in this proceeding, watch this feed]

Note: To get guilty plea to Count 1, US dropping Count 2, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, "from 2012 to Nov 2019."

Judge Stein: You understand you will lose valuable civil rights, including the right to vote and bear arms? Shah: I do.

Judge Stein: After I receive your pre-sentencing report I will determine guidelines, which in any event do not bind me. Do you understand that the system of parole has been abolished, except for "good time credit" at the facility where you are located? Shah: Yes.

 Judge Stein: I have before me a document sent to you and your lawyers. Did you read it before you signed it? Shah: Yes.  Judge Stein: Are there any side deals I should know about? Shah: No, your Honor.

Judge Stein: In this agreement you've agreed not to appeal if I sentence you to 168 months in prison or fewer?

Shah: Yes your Honor. Judge Stein: And you've agreed to forfeit $6 million, and restitution of $9 million? Shah: Yes, your Honor.

Judge Stein: Ms. Shah, what did you do? Shah: Wire fraud, offering services with little to no value. We used interstate telephones and emails. I knew many of the purchasers were over the age of 55. I am so sorry.

 Judge Stein: What is the reason they bought? Shah: Misrepresentations, regarding the value of the product or service, of which it had little to none. Judge Stein: Did you know it was wrong and illegal? Shah: Yes your Honor.

Judge Stein: AUSA Fletcher, what proof does the government have? AUSA: We were made aware of FTC investigations against floors the defendant worked with. Between 2017 and 2021 beyond being a lead broker, she had a Manhattan based sales floor, she oversaw it.

AUSA: She did not put her name on bank accounts associated with the business. She only got paid in cash through a company credit card and a NYC apartment she lived in. She used encrypted applications, and moved operations off shore to Kosovo and incorp in Wyoming

 Judge Stein: What were these "biz opps"? AUSA Fletcher: So-called coaching services. 

Judge Stein: Ms. Shah, how do you now plead?

Shah: Guilty.

Judge Stein: Are you pleading because you are guilty? Shah: Yes.

Judge Stein: I am signing the consent order of forfeiture in the sum of $6,500,000. Ms. Shah, I find your plea is knowing... I accept your guilty plea & adjudge you guilty. Sentencing will be October 12- Shah's lawyer: We have a trial on October 11. Another date?

AUSA: How about the week before Thanksgiving? Shah's lawyer: How about the week after Thanksgiving? Judge Stein: I'll set it for Oct 12.  Shah's lawyer: This Oct 11 trial in the state court [not Shah] we've been waiting five years. Judge Stein: OK, submission Nov 7

[Formal schedule: Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings as to Jennifer Shah:Defense submissions due by 11/7/2022; Government submissions due by 11/14/2022; Sentencing set for 11/28/2022 at 02:30 PM before Judge Sidney H. Stein]

 Judge Stein: Continue to abide by your conditions of release. I'll see you at your sentencing. We are adjourned.

On October 7, sentencing was delayed to December 15: "The Government respectfully submits this letter to request that the sentencing proceeding presently scheduled November 28, 2022, be adjourned in light of a scheduling conflict on the part of several members of the Government team. ENDORSEMENT: The sentencing is adjourned to December 15, 2022."

But on November 23, Shah's sentencing was delayed again, this time to January 6, 2023: "ENDORSED LETTER as to (19-Cr-833-11) Jennifer Shah addressed to Judge Sidney H. Stein from Attorney Priya Chaudhry dated November 23, 2022 re: As the Court is aware, we represent Jennifer Shah in the above-referenced matter which is scheduled for sentencing on December 15, 2022. With the government's consent, we respectfully request the Court adjourn Ms. Shah's sentencing to January 6, 2023, at 2:30 p.m., and adjust the filing deadlines for parties' sentencing memoranda accordingly. ENDORSEMENT: The sentencing is adjourned to January 6, 2023" - full request and endorsement on Patreon here.


Shah in the run up to the then-scheduled March 22, 2022 trial subpoenaed counsel for co-defendants and possible trial witnesses against her, for all communication with law enforcement including proffer sessions. The co-defendants have joined in a motion to quash.

The trial was pushed back: "The trial of this matter will commence on July 18, 2022, at 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom 23A."

On July 5 at 4:30 pm Judge Stein held a final pre-trial conference. Inner City Press attended and live tweeted it, thread here and below.

On July 8, cooperator Stuart Smith moved to quash a subpoena from Shah for all records concerning Red Steele / MDS. Full subpoena on Patreon here.

From July 5: OK -now in courtroom 23B is Jen Shah of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, final pre-trial conference before telemarketing fraud trial set for July 18/ Two lawyers with her at defense table.

 Judge entering - all rise! Judge Stein: We're ready for trial. The expert, I'm going to allow to testify about charge-back fraud. We will begin trial on July 18.

US estimates 2 weeks for its case, Shah's lawyer says they aim for 1 and 1/2 weeks for theirs. Judge Stein: we will not meet on July 25.  US wants six alternate jurors, due to COVID. Cites US v Shin trial.

Shah's Chaudrhy: we take no position. Judge: It's unwieldy, 16. Chaudhry: It's 18. Judge: I ask for this courtroom & will consider it.  Shah's other lawyer: We want Smith's FTC deposition exhibits

Shah's 2d lawyer: The lead investigator on this case has retired, he's now a contractor with the prosecution. We want his file.

Judge Stein: The cases you're citing are from the 5th and 9th Circuits...

Shah's 2d lawyer: Don't call Ms Shah's customers victims [citing Judge Liman's decision in trial of sex cultist Larry Ray] AUSA says the Ray decision was "wrongly decided."

Shah's lawyer: We'll be filing a motion under seal. Really? Adjourned.

On July 6, Judge Stein ordered: "ORDER as to Jennifer Shah: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the deposition testimony and all exhibits to the deposition of Stuart Smith dated June 18, 2018, and taken in connection with Federal Trade Commission v. Vision Solution Marketing, LLC, VSM Group, LLC, Ryze Services, LLC, et al., Case No. 2: 18-CV-00356-TC (D. Utah), be disclosed to the parties in the above-captioned matter in its entirety, including any portions designated confidential pursuant to a Protective Order. The testimony and exhibits disclosed are to be used solely in connection with the above-captioned action. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Sidney H. Stein on 7/6/2022)." But will they become judicial documents? Watch this site

On May 25 Judge Stein held an in-person oral argument - without Jen Shah present - and Inner City Press attended and live tweeted it here

Shah's 2 lawyers are here - but she is calling in. Judge Stein says he'll hear a "sealed motion in the robing room."

But first, Shah's bid to exclude that she withheld info from the IRS. Judge: She didn't report telemarketing income.  Shah's lawyer: She called it marketing, $150,000.

 Judge Stein: Jen Shah moved funds to #Kosovo AUSA: And she did not file or keep the required records.

h Still going. Jen Shah's lawyer says her husband Sharrieff Shah makes $500,000 a year as assistant football coach at University of Utah. Photo here.

Jen Shah's case is going sealed, into robing roo. Unclear the basis; Inner City Press will check docket. Watch this site.

On April 25 there was an in-person argument on Shah's subpoena for ABC's outtakes. Inner City Press was there, threadette:

Judge Stein tells Shah's lawyer he'll ask prospective jurors about the ABC program, which he says he doubts will have had impact (or been seen).

 Shah's lawyer notes that ABC is not subject to 3500, says Shah is entitled to the outtakes.

 Now Judge Stein is asking about the reporters' privilege

   On May 5 Judge Stein quashed the subpoena: "The journalists' privilege protects this information. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recognizes a journalists' privilege in light of the need "to protect the public's interest in being informed by a vigorous, aggressive and independent press." Chevron Corp. v. Berlinger, 629 F.3d 297,306 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). The journalists' privilege is a qualified privilege that protects both confidential and nonconfidential press materials from disclosure. Gonzales v . Nat'l Broad. Co., Inc., 194 F.3d 29, 32 (2d Cir. 1999). The standards for overcoming the privilege are more rigorous for confidential sources than for nonconfidential ones. In order to secure disclosure of confidential materials and sources, the party seeking it must make "a clear and specific showing that the information is: highly material and relevant, necessary or critical to the maintenance of the claim, and not obtainable from other available sources." In re Petroleum Prods. Antitrust Litig., 680 F.2d 5, 7 (2d Cir. 1982). The party seeking disclosure of nonconfidential materials, however "is entitled to the requested discovery notwithstanding a valid assertion of the journalists' privilege if he can show that the materials at issue are of likely relevance to a significant issue in the case, and are not reasonably obtainable from other available sources." Gonzales, 194 F.3d at 36. Furthermore, the privilege applies in both civil and criminal cases. See United States v. Treacy, 639 F.3d 32, 43 (2d Cir. 2011); United States v. Burke, 700 F.2d 70, 77 (2d Cir. 1983) ("We see no legally-principled reason for drawing a distinction between civil and criminal cases when considering whether the reporter's interest in confidentiality should yield to the moving party's need for probative evidence.") The subpoena here, far broader in scope than the discovery Shah unsuccessfully sought from the government in the days following the documentary's first airing (ECF No. 406,418), concerns both confidential and nonconfidential information. To the extent that it seeks "[a]ny and all documents and communications concerning the interviews taken," it sweeps confidential information within its copious ambit." Inner City Press will stay on the case

On February 14, 2022, Cameron Brewster came before Judge Sidney H. Stein to plead guilty. Inner City Press covered it. Brewster had a seven page plea deal dated February 7, waiving most rights to appeal any sentence at or below 97 months.

  On December 1, 2021 Shah's lawyer filed a letter, which Inner City Press is publishing in full on Patreon here, demanding sanctions: "As the Court is aware, we represent Jennifer Shah in the above-referenced matter. We respectfully submit this letter concerning the Government’s flagrant violation of Local Criminal Rule 23.1 by members of the prosecutorial team. In a documentary which was released yesterday by ABC News and is available for streaming worldwide, two supervisory agents with Homeland Security Investigations gave interviews about Ms. Shah and opined on her involvement with the alleged scheme, her “lavish lifestyle,” and her alleged treatment of purported victims. These violations of Rule 23.1, as described herein, are reprehensible and severely jeopardize Ms. Shah’s right to a fair trial." Full letter on Patreon here.

 On December 3 the US replied, claiming that when it handed out exhibits in US v. Owimrin, "in accord with the Office's standard practices in responding to such requests from the press or public, the Office provided those materials."

But that's not true. When Inner City Press asked for the exhibits in the UN corruption case of US v. Ng Lap Seng, it was denied and had to FOIA. So too on Patrick Ho. Watch this site.

 Back on November 19, Shah's co-defendant Stuart Smith came to plead guilty. Inner City Press live tweeted it here:

now Jennifer Shah's co-defendant Stuart Smith is appearing at noon before SDNY  Judge Sidney Stein - in order to plead guilty.

Stuart Smith: I am 43 and got a bachelors degree in Sociology. Judge Stein: Mental illness? Smith: No. Judge Stein: Any pills? Smith: Pills to sleep at night.

Judge Stein: You are charged in count 1 with wire fraud in tele-marketing. In count 2, money laundering. In count 3, obstructing an official proceeding.

 Assistant UN Attorney Fletcher: 1 correction - in count one he is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud

 AUSA Fletcher: Someone thinks I'm not a participant and keeps muting me. [Note: This change of plea is being done with a public call-in line, unlike the upcoming US v. #GhislaineMaxwell, for which Inner City Press has requested a line

 Judge Stein: Tell me what you did. Defense lawyer: He'll read it, he wrote it yesterday. Judge Stein: Read slowly, though. Stuart Smith: I knowingly planned with others to obtain money by offering many elderly individuals to entities I was involved in.

 Stuart Smith: I was involved in fulfillment companies in Utah. Also, Wyoming, which helps hide the ownership of corporations. I was aware it was misleading. We sold marketing that was of no value.

 AUSA: Please confirm there were at least 10 victims over the age of 55.

Stuart Smith: Yes. AUSA: The interstate wires, we proffer that Mastery Pro Group has offices in the SDNY and contacted victims outside of the District.

AUSA: And the official proceeding he obstructed was an FTC investigation conducted in the SDNY. We would prove this with testimony of victims.


Back on August 5, Shah and a co-defendant had a slew of motions denied. Order. 

SDNY Judge Sidney Stein tried to do the arraignment on March 31, but the technology broke down. Now there's an echo but it's going forward. Judge Stein: Ms. Shah, have you read the indictment? Shah: Yes, I have. And I waive the public reading.

Judge Stein: How do you plead to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering? Shah: Not guilty. Judge Stein: Let me turn to Mr. Smith.

 Judge Stein: Mr. Smith, how do you plead? Smith: Not guilty. Judge Stein: Let's talk about bail conditions. Ms. Shah you were released by a Magistrate in Utah.

Assistant US Attorney: We have a proposal on conditions. There are some on which there is a dispute.

AUSA: In Utah, Ms. Shah posted no cash. We propose a $1 million bond, secured by $250,000 in cash or property. On no contact with witnesses and victims, we want to specify that means those who purchased services, or sold them on sales floors. She can travel to DC

Judge Stein: You proposed no disbursements over $10,000 without permission. I'm going to lower it to $5000.  Defense: She is on Real Housewives of Salt Lake City but she doesn't take any credit cards for that.

Judge: Does the government have possession of Ms. Shah's passport? AUSA: It was expired, and we took it. If she has another, she should surrender it. Judge: What is the risk of flight? Ms. Shah, I've come to learn, is a participant in a popular television show.

 Judge: She is active on social media. It is unlikely she could disappear.

AUSA: We will make a proffer.  [Meanwhile, it dawns on Inner City Press these two are part of the largest US v. Cheedie case Inner City Press has covered, here

AUSA: The penalties for $5 million money laundering, it is not clear she would remain a public persona. In any event the persona is insufficient to ensure her return to court. So, a modest security. Judge: Is $250,000 modest? AUSA: She has access to it.

 Judge Stein: Let me here from the defense. Defense: We do not believe she has any active passport. She had hired us to defend her - she wants to fight this. Cash bond in not favored anyway around the country.

 Judge Stein: Does she receive a salary from any of her businesses, including the Real Housewives franchise? Defense: I don't know, I haven't spoken with my client about that.

2d Defense lawyer: She is an entrepreneur. She makes some money from the show, yes.

 Judge Stein: There is a risk of flight. It's not insubstantial. I'm to have her continued released, on condition of a bond of $1 million, with $250,000 secured by cash or property and 2 co-signers.

Judge Stein: She is to continue with her treatment. She can accept credit card charges for other businesses. No telemarketing.

Defense: Could we have 2 weeks for $250,000, since we're in Utah?

AUSA: Bonds can be handled remotely. 1 week.

Judge Stein: I'll do 2 weeks.

The case is US v. Cheedie, et al, 19-cr-833 (Stein)



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