January 11, 2023 |

Heather Gay went through a mix of emotions after best friend Jen Shah pleaded guilty to fraud back in July.

During the Season 3 finale of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” Wednesday, the 40-year-old revealed she was “overwhelmed with grief” following the news.

“Grief that we are in this situation, that there are victims, our friend is going away for a decade and she has a 16-year-old,” Gay told fellow “Housewife” Lisa Barlow after returning from her trip to New York City.

Barlow agreed, saying that thinking of Shah’s family made her “bawl my eyes out.”

“All I could think about was her in the van, saying, ‘I’m not going to see Reefie [Jen’s son, Sharrieff Jr.] get married.’”

Jen Shah leaving court.
Shah was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for wire fraud last week.
GC Images

“What she pled guilty to is so bad,” Gay continued. “And the fact that she’s taken it this far and gone on for this long and proclaimed her innocence, and now, I can only think she did it and she thought she was going to get away with it, and when she realized she wasn’t going to get away with it, her story changed.”

“It was the last thing I expected, was for her to plead guilty,” Gay further explained.

Shah, 49 confessed to scamming hundreds of people out of money through a nationwide telemarketing scheme, predominantly targeting the elderly. The reality star was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison last week.

Heather Gay, Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose, Lisa Barlow, Jen Shah at a standing table.
Gay and Lisa Barlow couldn’t help but wonder what led Shah to change her plea.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Gay, however, loyally stood by Shah after she was arrested on camera in March 2021. So when the now-convicted fraudster changed her plea to guilty at the last minute, she theorized as to why.

“I think that Coach [Jen’s husband Sharrieff Sr] discovered what Jen was doing and that it was impossible to explain,” Gay suggested. “With all the witness statements and all the witnesses, there was something that they couldn’t get out of.”

She continued, “And it was a smoking gun that said, ‘OK, the gig is up.’ You have to walk in there, you have to say you did these things and you have to go to prison for a decade.”

the cast of the
Shah’s arrest was caught on camera.
Chris Haston/Bravo via Getty Ima

While it’s unclear if Jen’s husband played a role in her decision to come clean, he did write a letter to the judge pleading for leniency in her sentencing.

The 51-year-old claimed his wife had “genuine remorse” for her actions and even placed some of the blame on himself for not being around enough.

Jen Shah crying.
Shah will start her sentence next month.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The letter seemingly worked as Jen only received half of the possible max sentence for her crimes — which the couple then celebrated with a lavish dinner in NYC that same day.

However, the partying will be short-lived as Jen is scheduled to surrender on Feb. 17.