Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah has found herself in some seriously hot water. Shah has been charged with federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in an alleged long-running telemarketing scam, the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York released in a statement on Tuesday, March 30. Shah’s first assistant/partner – and friend on RHOSLC – Stuart Smith was also charged.
Shah was arrested Tuesday morning in Salt Lake City on the, “indictment out of Manhattan federal court,” per the press release. Shah will appear in Salt Lake City federal court before a magistrate on Tuesday afternoon.
“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 press release read. “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.”
The NYPD continued alleging that both Shah and Smith’s victims total in the, “hundreds.” The alleged scam ran for at least nine years, from 2012 until March 2021. The two could face a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Heavy reached out to Shah’s reps who said, “At this time, we have no comment.”
A Special Agent Said Shah & Smith Built Their Wealth at the, ‘Expense of Vulnerable’ People
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Dermot Shea, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) are all assigned to the case.
“Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success,'” Fitzhugh said in the statement. “In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people. As alleged, disturbingly, Shah and Smith objectified their very real human victims as ‘leads’ to be bought and sold, offering their personal information for sale to other members of their fraud ring… [the groups involved] worked to ensure that Shah and Smith will answer for their alleged crimes. As a result, their new reality may very well turn out differently than they expected.”
Shah and Smith’s complicated scheme generated lists of potential victims – many of whom were over 55-years-old, per the statement. They then allegedly sold those leads to telemarketing companies to try and sell business services to the victims.
Shea added, “These individuals allegedly targeted and defrauded hundreds of victims but thanks to the hard work of the NYPD and our law enforcement partners, this illegal scheme was brought to an end. I congratulate the NYPD detectives, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for their hard work in bringing these persons to justice.”
Shah’s RHOSLC Co-Stars Have Questioned Her Financial Situation Before
Fans first met Shah during the first season of RHOSLC. Shah introduced viewers to not only her lavish lifestyle, but her ‘Shah Squad’ that included four assistants. “Why do you need four assistants?” Cohen asked Shah during part one of the RHOSLC reunion. “[Can you] 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.”
She continued explaining, “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 is married to Sharrieff Shah, an assistant football coach at the University of Utah. The couple has two sons: Omar, 17, and Sharrieff Jr., 26.