Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah and her assistant plead not guilty to fraud after being accused of selling lists of elderly people’s names to NYC telemarketing firms so they could target them with fake business services
- Shah, 47, and her assistant Steven Smith are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering
- They are facing 30 years behind bars for their alleged telemarketing scheme
- Shah and Smith allegedly sold lists of elderly targets for telemarketing firms to target
- The firms then pushed ‘business services’ like website development and tax prep on elderly victims, many of whom didn’t have computers
- Shah referred to the victims as ‘leads’, according to the indictment
- She also traded advice with telemarketers about how to make it difficult for the victims to get refunds
- Shah and her husband Sharieff appear in the Bravo show Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
- She boasted about her business and lavish lifestyle on the show, claiming she spent $50,000-a-month
Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah and her assistant pleaded not guilty to fraud on Friday during a conference call court appearance.
Shah is facing up to 30 years in prison for allegedly defrauding elderly people via a telemarketing scheme which New York prosecutors say went on for nine years.
The pair allegedly compiled and sold lists of elderly targets to telemarketing firms who then pushed ‘business services’ like tax preparation or website design services on them, even though many did not have a computer. The telemarketers would then, according to prosecutors, make it difficult for people to get refunds for the services if they complained.
Shah and Smith are said to have gotten the elderly people’s names from sales floors all over the country and sold them to telemarketers in New York, where they have been charged.
Shah, 47, was released from on bond earlier this week in Salt Lake City on the condition that she does not contact her assistant and co-defendant, Steven Smith.
Friday’s hearing was done via video-conference for the defendants, attorneys and judge but the media and public were only allowed to dial-in for the audio.
Earlier in the week, Shah herself could not dial in because so many people had dialed in to listen.
Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah is pictured leaving court in Utah on Tuesday after being given bond. She is facing 30 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud
Shah, 47, appears in the most recent series of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise in Salt Lake City
On the Bravo show in which she appears, Shah boasts about spending $50,000-a-month and living in a sprawling mountain home she calls ‘Shah Chalet’.
Her husband Sharrieff Shah is a coach for the Utah Utes football team.
In the recent reunion episode of the show, she boasted to her co-stars about her business, describing it as an algorithm her company makes for advertising.
Announcing the charges earlier this week, Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Shah’s assistant Stuart Smith is also charged in the indictment. He is shown on Tuesday