Jen Shah was indicted for her alleged role in a long-running telemarketing scheme while filming season 2 of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City — and all eyes are on the Bravo star as she faces up to 50 years in prison.
Bravo viewers met Shah during season 1 of RHOSLC, which filmed in 2019 and aired in 2020. She quickly became a polarizing character on the franchise, with fans questioning her job and need for several assistants.
“People will come to me and I’ll invest in their companies, so we have a got a lot of different investments, all different kinds of things,” Shah said of her career on Access Hollywood’s “Housewives Nightcap” in November 2020. “I’ve been able to do it because what I’ve been able to carve out, the niche I’ve been able to carve out in the direct response marketing world.”
Not long after production began on season 2 of RHOSLC, which also stars Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose, Heather Gay, Lisa Barlow and Mary Cosby, news broke on March 30 that Shah and one of her assistants who appeared on the show, Stuart Smith, were arrested in Utah.
“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,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a press release. “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.”
HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh claimed that Shah and Smith “built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.”
“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,” Fitzhugh said. “Working with our partners at the NYPD and the United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY, and with the assistance of HSI Salt Lake City, HSI New York 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.”
A source told Us Weekly at the time that Shah is “embarrassed” by the scandal, which included NYPD detectives, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York working together.
“Jen is really humiliated that all of this is happening in the public eye and that it will be shown on Bravo,” the source told Us on March 31, noting at the time that Shah hasn’t “been talking to her castmates or friends” following her arrest.
Scroll through for a breakdown of the charges and everything we know about Shah’s legal drama: