01 Apr ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ Star Jen Shah Arrested for Fraud
Jen Shah, star of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” was arrested Tuesday. According to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, she has been arrested on charges of wire-fraud conspiracy and money-laundering conspiracy for her role in an alleged “telemarketing scheme.”
Shah’s assistant, Stuart Smith, was also arrested in the alleged scam.
A federal judge in Utah agreed to release the pair with certain restrictions. The two cannot speak to each other and they cannot “engage in telemarketing.” The case will be prosecuted in Manhattan.
‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’
The “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” is the latest in the Bravo “Housewives” franchise.
It quickly gained popularity during its first season. Based in a predominantly Mormon community, the show gives viewers a look into a world unfamiliar to most of us.
Living in Utah, the women lead extravagant and lavish lifestyles. There is a hierarchy specific to Utah and the Mormon community. The stars of the show each fall somewhere different on that list.
A Controversial Character
Jen Shah has been one of the shows more controversial characters. Some moments she comes off as endearing and vulnerable, while other times she is quite aggressive.
Jen gets angry and screams at the top of her lungs. She was even kicked out of her husband’s surprise birthday party due to her irrational actions.
However, some still found Jen Shah to be their favorite housewife. Her issues stem from problems with losing her father and feeling distant from her husband. At the reunion, she seemed to be apologetic for some of her behavior throughout the season.
Viewers of the show often questioned how exactly Jen got her fortune. Her husband is often gone for work. Sharrieff Shah is the cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Utah.
During part one of the reunion, Andy Cohen asked Shah a question from a viewer. The viewer had asked,“Why do you need four assistants?” Cohen asked Shah to “break down what each of them do for you outside of clapping for your fabulous outfits and driving you around.”
Shah replied, “I need a lot of help, you know? They all do different things … I run a lot of different companies and businesses, and a lot of them have different roles in the companies.”
Cohen then asked Shah what she did for work.
“My background is in direct-response marketing for about 20 years, so our company does advertising. We have a platform that helps people acquire customers, so when you’re shopping online or on the internet and something pops, we have the algorithm behind why you’re getting served that ad,” Shah responded.
The Alleged Crimes
Jen Shah, and her assistant Stuart Smith, face federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. For these crimes, they face up to 30 years in prison.
“Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success,’” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh in a release.
“In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.”
These types of schemes target the gullible, vulnerable, or elderly. According to their charges Shah and Smith used a telemarketing scheme “through which they victimized 10 or more persons over the age of 55.” The crimes that Shah is accused of are not victimless crimes.
Shah and Smith participated in a “coordinated effort to traffic” lists of potential victims. They allegedly did this knowing that these people would be scammed by others.
Filming the Arrest
The “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” was in the middle of filming its second season when Jen learned that she would be facing arrest.
The women had been on a trip when Jen suddenly left to go see her husband, Coach Shah. In full glam, she then surrendered herself.
Since this incident has happened in the middle of filming, it will very likely be a large storyline next season. However, there are questions about Jen’s place in future seasons of “Housewives.”