On Friday morning, Jen Shah from Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” was arraigned in federal court, and pleaded not guilty to the fraud charges for which she was arrested earlier this week. The arraignment, which had been rescheduled from Wednesday after massive technical difficulties thwarted the hearing, took place before United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein.
On Tuesday, Shah was indicted and arrested for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges were brought about from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She was arrested along with her assistant, Stuart Smith, who has also been featured “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” as one of her many assistants.
Stein asked Shah how she pleaded to the two charges, and she said, “not guilty” to both. It was the only time she spoke during the hearing.
Though the court set a number of restrictions on Shah and Smith, Stein did not say she can’t film “Real Housewives.” A representative from Bravo did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Shah’s publicist immediately respond to Variety‘s inquiry.
The terms of Shah’s bail were also set. The government asked for $1 million bond, secured by $250,000 cash or property, co-signed by “financially responsible people.” Shah’s new attorney, Henry Asbill, objected to that characterization, and the judge shot down his objection, saying it was “fairly standard.”
Shah was also forbidden from taking credit card payments with the businesses that are in dispute, and her attorneys asked that exceptions be made for her side gigs of her beauty, lash and fashion businesses. They also mentioned that she receives money for being on “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” but that doesn’t involve credit cards.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kiersten A. Fletcher, the prosecutor, said that Shah and Smith are at the “highest level” of the scam, and operate shell companies, one of which has brought in $5 million. “The government believes that Ms. Shah and Mr. Smith” have access to a lot of cash, she said, and $250,000 is “modest” compared to how much money they’ve allegedly stolen. She said they have not been forthcoming in detailing their assets.
The judge also said Shah had filled out a statement of personal worth, and she’d written “zero,” which he thought was “highly unlikely.” Her lawyers said she was unable to get access to her financial documents, so they would clarify all of that.
He also asked whether Shah owns a home, which is a subject that has been in dispute in the “Real Housewives” community. Earlier this week, Page Six reported that the house Shah and her family were seen living in during the show’s first season, a massive ski chalet called “SHAH SKI CHALET” in the chyron, was a rental.
Her attorneys said that they didn’t think Shah owns any property, and, yes, she is currently renting.
In terms of flight risk, Fletcher said, Shah’s public persona is “insufficient” to insure that she won’t flee, thus the amount of the bond. Shah has only an expired passport that was found in the search of her house, and she’s barred from applying for a new one, the judge ruled.
The judge approved of the bond amount, because he agrees that Shah is a flight risk. He released her on her own personal recognizance, and she has one week to comply with the conditions. She is allowed to leave Utah only to go to New York City or Washington, D.C., where she is being charged and where her attorneys have offices. He set a number of financial conditions, and said Shah cannot engage in telemarketing or any related business.
He also forbade “excessive use of alcohol.” On the show, Shah’s ostentatious rages were exacerbated by her drinking.
Shah’s trial date was set for October 18.