A silent courtroom awaited a Judge’s decision. The fate of Shannade Clermont was on the line. Her crimes were numerous but fell short of murder. Yet, there was a dead man and thousands of dollars missing.
Judge Naomi Buchwald of New York Southern District made her ruling. “When faced with a real test of character, Ms. Clermont close to leave [the victim’s] apartment with his debit card information without calling 911. No foundation, established after her arrest, can account for that lack of character.” Then the Judge laid down the sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison, which was the mandatory sentence.
For many, Shannade Clermont may be known as an Instagram influencer and reality star. Others know nothing about her. The latter group needs to know Clermont began her career on the show Bad Girls Club. Literally, this woman came to the public’s attention as someone who misbehaved and was rewarded for it. Alas, after her time on the show, she had a hard time finding more gigs.
With the rise of social media and a new occupation, social media influencer, Clermont had a second chance. More than one million people follow her. Still, the income was not enough to satisfy her and she turned to prostitution to supplement her income.
It was doing this that she met James Alesi. While the Judge and most of the people in the Manhattan courtroom called the relationship prostitute and pimp, Clermont insisted Alesi was her sugar daddy.
A Whole Lotta Sugar
January 31, 2017, is a day Clermont will not soon forget. She had a “date” with Alesi, and it did not go well, to say the least. That night Alesi died and many people look at her as having had something to do with it. Clermont maintains her innocence, “He wasn’t asleep when I left — he was just drunk, have never been around people who have been on heavy drugs, so I didn’t really know.” It was not enough to convince the Judge, jury, or Alesi’s family.
One of the reasons why is because cameras in Alesi’s building showed her leaving before his time of death. Despite a toxicology report that showed him overdosing on cocaine, many blame Clermont because she failed to call 911 when she noticed he was acting odd. There is also the fact, she copied his bank account and debit card numbers before she left. Something she would not have been able to do had he been awake. Since she was able to do that, many wondered why she didn’t call for help.
Jonelle Alesi, Sister of James, summed up what she thought happened for the court. “Your honor, it takes five seconds to call 911, She took the time to steal my brother’s credit card info. It takes longer to do that [than to make a 911 call]. Ms. Clermont waited six weeks to start shopping. It was all calculated in advance, done out of greed and with malicious intent.”
“My brother died and [Shannade] went shopping.”
What was Clermont found guilty of? Wire transfer fraud. It seems with many social media personalities money is all that matters. Clermont is a prime example. As is Anna Sorokin.
As Jonelle Alesi said, weeks after the death of her brother James, Clermont went on a shopping spree. She paid her rent, phone bill, and bought expensive shoes with the more than $20,000 she transferred from Alesi’s account. There was also a spa day and other purchases made with the money.
By using fake email accounts, Clermont was able to keep the money flowing from Alesi’s account to her own. It was a good deal until the family realized what was happening and began to have it investigated.
When she realized there was no way out of her situation, Clermont tried to persuade the judge to take it easy on her. Her lawyer asked the judge to look at the totality of her life. Then Clermont addressed the Judge herself. “I made a terrible, selfish decision. I feel like I’m in a recurring nightmare that’s happening… I can’t pretend to be perfect because [if I were] I wouldn’t be here. I want to take full responsibility. Your honor, I ask for you to give me a second chance… this will never happen again. I lost sight of who I was during that time in my life.”
Her lawyer also asked the Judge to consider the fact that Clermont’s career was in tatters. “[Shannade] has been reduced to making appearances in gentlemen’s clubs, half-naked,” which had no impact on the judge.
Reaction To The Sentence
Alesi’s family seemed to be fine with the sentencing, although there is no official statement from them. However Judge Buchwald did counter Clermont’s lawyer when he complained his client was reduced to showing her goods in gentleman’s club and her reasoning for not calling emergency services, “Or maybe she didn’t want to be caught… or [she thought], I don’t want to be involved with law enforcement as a prostitute. I could totally care less if someone wants to prostitute.”
Clermont posted on her Instagram account something that seemingly goes against what she told the Judge. “Any B**** in our situation would’ve been fold #FreeShannade.” Maybe Shannade should not have stolen thousands of dollars while a man lay dying?