Jen Shah from Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” has been indicted and arrested for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges, brought about from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, were announced on Tuesday. Shah was arrested along with her assistant, Stuart Smith, who has also been featured on the show, as one of her many assistants.
The charges allege that from 2012 until today, Shah, Smith and others ran a telemarketing scheme that defrauded older people by selling “lead lists” for nonexistent business opportunities.
According to a Department of Justice press release, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Jennifer Shah, who portrays herself as a wealthy and successful businessperson on ‘reality’ television, and Stuart Smith, who is portrayed as Shah’s ‘first assistant,’ allegedly generated and sold ‘lead lists’ of innocent individuals for other members of their scheme to repeatedly scam. In actual reality and as alleged, the so-called business opportunities pushed on the victims by Shah, Smith, and their co-conspirators were just fraudulent schemes, motivated by greed, to steal victims’ money. Now, these defendants face time in prison for their alleged crimes.”
Shah, an irascible and somewhat irrational presence on “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” has volatile friendships with the other women on the show, and was known to throw drinks, yell and cry. The first season of the show, the latest entry in Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise, premiered last year, and caught on with viewers. Andy Cohen, the executive producer of “The Real Housewives,” recently told Variety that the second season of the show has begun filming, which means Shah’s legal woes will play out on camera.
It’s not the first time that one of the “Real Houswives” has gotten into legal trouble on the show. Teresa Giudice of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” was arrested and convicted of fraud, and her release was filmed by Bravo’s cameras.
If she’s convicted of the charges, according to the Southern District press release, she faces up to 30 years in prison.