On new Bravo series Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, self-proclaimed Queen Bee Jen Shah drew instant attention for her hair-trigger temper and explosive bouts of rage after drinking at many of the series’ social events. Now, however, that attention may come back to haunt her as she and Stuart Smith, a man who was presented as her assistant on the Bravo show, were arrested on Tuesday. They’re facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and conspiracy to commit money laundering (just like Lori Loughlin) for alleged involvement in a nationwide telemarketing scheme, a new release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York confirms, and the summary offered by Special Agent Peter C. Fitzhugh suggest that this alleged scheme will not go over well with Bravo fans.
Shah and Smith are accused of having defrauded “hundreds of victims,” many of whom the release notes were over 55, “by selling those Victims so-called ‘business services.'” Instead of offering those services, the case alleges that Shah and Smith “engaged in a widespread, coordinated effort to traffic in lists of potential victims, or ‘leads'” and then “sold leads to other Participants for use by their telemarketing sales floors with the knowledge that the individuals they had identified as ‘leads’ would be defrauded by the other Participants.”
When Shah was asked to explain her business on the show, she described a business in which she helped connect other businesses with client lists, which bears some similarity to what’s described in this release. Shah is facing similar charges now to Teresa and Joe Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey, one there’s at least one person who’s not a fan of those charged with fraud flaunting their wealth on TV.
“Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success,'” HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said in a statement. “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.”
If true, these charges are absolutely despicable, and we’d hope that Bravo wouldn’t continue to give Shah a platform. Representatives for Jen Shah and Bravo both declined to comment at this time..
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