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'RHOSLC' Star Jen Shah Claims She Was 'Unable To Read' Miranda Rights Before Arrest Due To 'Blurry Vision'

Jun. 17 2021, Published 7:42 a.m. ET

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The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah has claimed that she did not properly understand her Miranda rights before she was arrested in March and charged for her alleged involvement in a telemarketing scheme.

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A declaration obtained by PEOPLE reports that on the day of her arrest, Shah was on her way to film the Bravo series when she got a call from an unidentified person who said they were speaking on behalf of her husband, Sharrieff, and that he said she should go home immediately.

The 47-year-old tried to call her husband, but began to worry when he didn't answer.

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rhoslc jen shah unable to read miranda rights arrest fraud
Source: @therealjenshah/Instagram
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"Soon after, I received another phone call, this time from a 917 number," the declaration read. "The caller explained that his name was Detective Christopher Bastos and that he was with the New York Police Department."

Initially, she thought the call had something to do with a restraining order case in New York. Bastos did not say why he was calling, but told her to pull over. The detective and other law enforcement agents arrived shortly after.

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"I was walked to the back of the car, placed in handcuffs, and told that they had a warrant for my arrest," Shah claimed. "I was at this point very confused and emotionally off-balance from the strange series of events, and thought I might have been the victim of a false identification."

"I repeatedly asked Det. Bastos clarification questions, including 'Am I under arrest?' and 'Am I going to jail?' which were phrases I used interchangeably and thought of as the same thing," the reality star recalled.

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According to Shah, Bastos did not answer her questions, but "repeatedly said words to the effect of, 'We just want to talk to you' and 'I promise we just want to talk to you.'" She alleged that his statements "led me to believe I might be in danger, and that the police might be there to help me."

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Shah claimed that she was then taken to an ICE headquarters and allegedly handcuffed to a chair. She explained that she was given a printed copy of the Miranda warnings to sign as Bastos read them aloud, which is when she began to have trouble with her eyesight.

"Although I heard the words Det. Bastos read clearly, my contact lenses, which were in my eyes, were dry, and I did not have my reading glasses, so my vision was blurry and I was unable to read the paper in front of me," Shah claimed in her declaration. "Even while being read my rights, I did not fully understand what was going on, and still thought that one explanation might be a potential misidentification."

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The TV personality claimed that because her questions were not being answered, she thought she would get an answer by signing the paper and waiving her rights.

Shah said at one point, she signed the wrong line because she "could not see the paper" and Bastos re-read the missed line to make sure she knew what it said. After signing the waiver, Shah told Bastos that her contact lenses were blurry, and she was uncuffed so she retrieve contact solution from her bag.

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Shah's attorneys filed documents earlier this week allegedly stating that "[n]ot until near the very end of the 1 hour, 20-minute interrogation ... did Det. Bastos finally tell Ms. Shah the truth about what she was being charged with." Although she waived her Miranda rights, she "did not do so voluntarily, but rather as a direct result of law enforcement deception and trickery calculated to overpower her will."

Shah and her assistant Stuart Smith were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing after they allegedly victimized 10 or more persons over the age of 55. They were hit with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. They pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in April.

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