Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that earlier today, JENNIFER SHAH pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing.
US Attorney Damian Williams said: ‘Jennifer Shah played a key role in a national program targeting elderly and vulnerable victims. These victims were sold false promises of financial security, but instead Shah and his co-conspirators swindled them out of their savings and gave them nothing to show for. This Office is committed to eradicating these schemes, whatever their form.
According to the allegations in the superseding indictment and statements made during plea and other proceedings in the case:
From 2012 through March 2021, JENNIFER SHAH, along with others (collectively, “Participants”) conducted an extensive telemarketing scheme that defrauded hundreds of victims (“Victims”) across the United States, many had passed the age of 55, by selling to these Victims so-called “business services” in connection with the alleged online activities of the Victims (the “Business Opportunity Scheme”).
In order to perpetuate the business opportunity program, participants, including SHAH, engaged in a coordinated and widespread effort to traffic lists of potential victims, or “leads”, many of whom had already made an investment. upfront to start an online business with other Plan Participants.
SHAH, among others, sold leads to other participants for use in their telemarketing sales floors knowing that the people they identified as “leads” would be defrauded by the other participants, including by lying to the victims about how much they would earn. after purchasing the commercial services and the alleged success of others who had purchased the services. SHAH received as profit a share of the fraudulent revenue under the terms of their agreement with these participants. SHAH often controlled every aspect of fraud perpetrated by other Participants on the individuals they had identified by determining, among other things, which “coaching” sales floor could buy them leads, selecting the downstream sales floors to which the “coaching” sales floor was allowed to pass the leads, choosing companies to provide “fulfillment” services, i.e. documents and records purporting to demonstrate that the services Participants claimed to provide to these Victims were real and legitimate, determining how much the downstream outlets could charge, and determining what “products” each of the downstream outlets could sell.
Circa 2017, SHAH began operating a Manhattan-based sales floor that sold downline “business opportunity” products to victims on prospect lists provided by Defendant under the Business Opportunity Scheme (the “Sale Floor”). sale of Manhattan”). Between 2018 and 2020, SHAH controlled the day-to-day operations of the Manhattan Sales Floor. Among other things, SHAH, along with other participants, moved certain operations for the Manhattan Sales Floor to Kosovo to avoid law enforcement and regulatory scrutiny. Sellers on the Manhattan sales floor engaged in the same fraudulent sales practices as other Business Opportunity Scheme telemarketing floors: namely, lying and tricking victims into buying “business opportunity” products. in order to ostensibly advance their nonexistent online businesses.
SHAH has gone to great lengths to conceal its role in the Business Opportunity Scheme. For example, SHAH, among others, incorporated its business entities using the names of third parties and instructed other participants to do the same, used and directed others to use encrypted messaging apps to communicate with other participants, and made numerous structured cash withdrawals to avoid foreign currency transaction reporting requirements.
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SHAH, 48, of Park City, Utah, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing in which she victimized 10 or more people over the age of 55 years, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. . As part of his guilty plea, SHAH also agreed to forfeit $6.5 million and pay restitution of up to $9.5 million.
The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as SHAH’s sentence will be determined by the judge.
SHAH is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein on November 28, 2022.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI’s El Dorado Task Force.
This case is handled by the Bureau’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher, Benet J. Kearney, Robert B. Sobelman and Sheb Swett are charged with the prosecution.
If you believe you have been a victim of the scheme described above, including a victim entitled to restitution, and would like to provide information to law enforcement and/or be informed of future developments in the case or additional information, please contact Wendy Olsen-Clancy, Victim Witness Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, at 866-874-8900 or [email protected]