The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City and Bravo star, Jen Shah was taken into police custody after she was charged with plotting and scheming in a telemarketing operation and faces 50 years of prison should the verdict go against her favour.
Jen Shah rose to fame when she appeared in season 1 of RHOLSC, filmed in 2019 and aired in 2020 along with Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose, Heather Gay, Lisa Barlow and Mary Cosby. As season 1 ended and production for season 2 started, news broke out that Shah and her assistant, Stuart Smith, apparently generated and sold ‘lead lists’ of innocent individuals as possible victims to scam. She and her co-conspirators would then force them into fraudulent, money laundering schemes and pass them off as “business opportunities” in their show. Jen would pose as a real successful and wealthy businesswoman in the show but in reality she runs fictitious business niches aimed at robbing hundreds of people, especially the working older class and their security deposits.
As per reports, Shah and Smith’s alleged involvement dates back to 2012 but she got arrested only recently, right on live on television, from the sets of RHOLSC season 2 with Bravo’s cameras still rolling away. Everyone including the businesswoman herself appeared shocked and in eminent disbelief. The crew confirmed they’ll return to filming without Jen but another source added, that after this scandal, her trials and aftermath of the arrest would be recorded for viewership too.
“Jen’s future this season remains unclear. If she will go back to filming or not, no one is really sure, she hasn’t resumed filming yet,” the source said at the time.
Along with 10 other accused, Anthony Cheedie, Chad Allen, Shane Hanna Cameron Brewster, Kevin Handren, Joseph Ciaccio, Joseh Minetto, Joseph Depaola, Derek Larkin and Mattie Cirilo, Jen and Stuart were charged with an approximate 30 years of prison for the wire fraud charges and an additional 20 years for the money laundering charges.
Her first court appearance on March 30 at the Utah State court was kept pretty straightforward and brief. The judge imposed a set of conditions and parole on both the convicts including an utter bar on committing any sort of federal offence, no traveling outside of Utah with the exception of New York City court, no international travel, no contact with co-defendants and no engagement in telemarketing. In her arraignment, done virtually, on April 2, the defendant pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. She was backed by local lawyers from Utah City, Clayton Simms and prominent white-collar crime defense attorney Henry Asbill. A bail of $1 million was asked from Shah and to be paid within a week’s deadline.
As per the judge’s statement, “There is a risk of flight here. It’s not insubstantial. I’m going to release her on the following conditions: I am going to require a personal recognizance bond of $1 million. I am going to require $250,000 to secure that bond in cash or property. She will have one week to comply.” Other conditions of her bail included no drug use or excessive alcohol, not being allowed to open any bank accounts and continued mental health treatments.
Smith on his part pleaded guilty on all three counts- fraudulent activities, money laundering and obstruction of justice and faces 30 years of prison. He will be sentenced after his former boss, Jen’s trial dated March’22.
The production set at RHOLSC has promised its viewers a high coverage and detailed insight into the proceedings and aftermath of their character’s arrest. Jen in a previous statement regarding her occupation had said that she had three business companies and one of them was her personal fashion brand, all of which turns out to be nothing but fake assertions. Though Jen requested for the charges to be dropped against her and was against filming of the entire incident, the motion was denied by the US court judge since it didn’t view them as a direct impeachment of her personal rights.
As per sources, Jen’s husband, Coach Shah has been really supportive of her throughout this ordeal and they still had a lot of love for each other that might help them overcome such periods of difficulty.