As Jen Shah’s March 2022 trial approaches, The Housewife & the Shah Shocker is exploring the charges against the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star — and how she ended up at the center of an alleged telemarking scheme.
The ABC News documentary, which is currently streaming on Hulu, features interviews from two alleged victims, agents investigating Shah and her assistant Stuart Smith, legal experts and ABC correspondent Aaron Katersky.
“The folks that are behind this are pros at what they do. It is disgusting,” Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Rick Patel said in The Housewife & the Shah Shocker. ”And what we’d like to tell any victim is, it’s not your fault, please come forward, because we need your help to make sure this doesn’t happen to more people.”
Shah and Smith have been accused of selling “lead lists” and presenting allegedly fake business opportunities to vulnerable individuals. While Shah has pleaded not guilty to the fraud and money laundering charges, Smith changed his initial not guilty plea earlier this month, pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
“Generally, I believe her defenses are that she’s not the one that is selling these other services,” criminal defense lawyer Ronald Richards said. “She’s just providing leads, and that she shouldn’t be criminally liable. … Jen Shah is gonna say ‘No, I was good at getting leads and what they did with the leads is their problem.’”
Eric Patterson, the founder of the Utah Investigative Journalism Project, explained: “If you’re just a lead generator, you’re the most removed from anything that would be illegal or fraudulent or unethical. ‘I just provide you with numbers, you dial them. And I hope that you’re being forthright and honest with these people.’”
Shah and her team declined ABC News’ request for comment, but the Bravo star’s aunt Lehua Vincent defended her in the doc.
“This is the most difficult time for our entire family. The Jen Shah that I know is a woman who has come from a culture that is deeply rooted in honesty, loyalty and hard work,” Vincent said. “There’s just no way that Jen has the ability to be harmful or hurtful or disrespectful. You are innocent until proven guilty … and I believe her to be nothing but innocent.”
Scroll through for a breakdown of The Housewife & the Shah Shocker: