“Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah has been arrested and charged in a federal telemarketing fraud case, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Shah and her assistant Stuart Smith, who was also featured on the Bravo reality series, allegedly carried out a “wide-ranging telemarketing scheme that defrauded hundreds of victims throughout the United States.”
According to prosecutors, the pair marketed fraudulent “business services” to elderly people over the phone and then sold their information to other participants in the scheme “with the knowledge that the individuals they had identified as ‘leads’ would be defrauded by the other Participants.”
Shah and Smith each face one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing through which they victimized 10 or more persons over the age of 55 and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted on both charges, they could face up to 50 years in prison.
Last November, Shah debuted the main cast members on “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” the newest installment in the Bravo reality TV franchise. In her cast bio, she is described as “queen of her house and her businesses as the CEO of three marketing companies.” A representative for Bravo declined to comment on the situation.
“Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success.’ In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, special agent-in-charge for Homeland Security Investigations. “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.”