On the morning of Tuesday, March 30, the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star and her assistant, Stuart Smith, were arrested after they were both federally charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering through an alleged telemarketing fraud scheme. According to a press release from the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, the scheme had allegedly been going on for many years and stretched nationwide.
The two appeared in Salt Lake City court that afternoon and were spotted by media and photographers as they left the courthouse. Utah-based reporter, John Franchi, snapped a shot of Shah leaving court this afternoon. Shah will not be detained while she is awaiting trial, according to reporting from Franchi.
While leaving the courthouse, Shah sported braids and a brown fur coat. If convicted, Shah could face a maximum of 30 years in prison.
The Scheme Allegedly Targeted Those Who Were Over 55 Years-Old
According to the March 30 press release from the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, Shah’s alleged telemarketing scheme targeted those who were over 55 years old. The press release alleged that both Shah and her assistant, Smith, were “motivated by greed.”
“SHAH and SMITH, among other things, generated and sold leads to other Participants for use by their telemarketing sales floors with the knowledge that the individuals they had identified as ‘leads’ would be defrauded by the other Participants,” the press release alleged. “SHAH and SMITH received as profit a share of the fraudulent revenue per the terms of their agreement with those Participants.”
The press release also noted Shah’s role on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, reading, “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.”
‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ Was Supposedly Filming During the Time of Her Arrest
If there’s any silver lining to Shah’s arrest, it’s that it may have been caught on camera for Bravo fans. A source messaged the Instagram account @twojudgeygirls on March 30, alleging that the women were filming while this happened.
“They’re filming today because the ladies are going to CO on a cast trip this morning,” the message read. “All of a sudden Jen had to leave filming quickly because of an emergency with her husband. 5 minutes later swat and the feds were there looking for her. They believe she was tipped off but obviously caught up with her just after that.”
In a separate message from the source, they alleged that the agents first tried to find Shah at her house, but she had already left for filming. They had to track her down from there.