'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' Star Jen Shah Charged With Allegedly Running Telemarketing Fraud Scheme
By Jackie Willis
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Jen Shah has been arrested. ET can confirm that the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star is facing federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in an alleged long-running telemarketing scam. Stuart Smith, who has appeared on the Bravo series with Shah, was also indicted for the alleged scheme and arrested.
"Jennifer Shah, who portrays herself as a wealthy and successful business person 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 statement. "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."
Homeland Security Investigations Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh also made a statement about the arrests, again calling out Smith and Shah's "lavish lifestyle."
"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," he 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."
The New York Police Department is alleging that Shah and Smith have "hundreds" of victims in an alleged scam that ran for at least nine years, starting in 2012 and going on until just this month.
Shah was photographed leaving the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City on Tuesday afternoon.
Back in January, ET's Brice Sander asked Shah to give him an elevator pitch about her company. "People are always like, 'Wait, what do you do?' I do so many things because I've invested in a lot of other businesses and verticals outside of e-commerce but basically in a nutshell I help," she said of her career. "I do customer acquisition, online and offline marketing and really my niche is monetization. So we take a customer and help you monetize that customer through, like, a proprietary 52-week remarketing cycle. ...When a company pays X amount of dollars that costs for acquisition to purchase a customer. Once you have that customer, they're valuable. So finding out the different behaviors, what they are looking for, what they want to buy, what's going to add value. We build out whole remarketing cycles for your customer database."
ET reached out to Shah's personal public relations team as well as Bravo, and both have no comment at this time. Meanwhile, RHOSLC is currently filming season 2.