Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah was arrested after investigators found a connection between Shah and a telemarketing scheme that defrauded hundreds of people, several victims being over the age of 55; a cohort vulnerable to such manipulation.
Her assistant Stuart Smith was also arrested and charged on Tuesday.
A news release from the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York stated that the two have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which has a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
The alleged nine-year-long scheme included Shah and Smith "[selling] old alleged services purporting to make the management of victims' businesses more efficient or profitable." The services allegedly included tax prep and website design, according to the release.
The two also allegedly targeted and tracked potential victims, referring to them as "leads". Furthermore, the partners in crime knew full well what they were doing was not acceptable. They made it their prerogative to conceal their role in the scheme through third-party aliases, telling other participants to do the same.
Bravo's Real Housewives of Salt Lake City dubs Shah "the queen of her house and her businesses." When Andy Cohen inquired for more detail on what she does for work, she vaguely replied, "My background is in direct response marketing for about 20 years, so our company does advertising," she continued, "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."
We spoke to Shah back in November of 2020 to get the scoop on Bravo's Real Housewives of Salt Lake City around the time of its winter premiere.
"That's what viewers can expect from this season. I am pointing it all out," she told us. "Hold on to your seats because this is going to be the best franchise yet."
The second season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is due to return in late 2021 or 2022.
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