Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's Jen Shah Arrested, Charged in Telemarketing Fraud Scheme
The Bravo star was arrested on Tuesday alongside her assistant Stuart Smith for allegedly targeting individuals in a nationwide scheme
The reality star, 47, was arrested on Tuesday alongside Stuart Smith, 43, one of her assistants who has also appeared on the Bravo series. They have both been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
"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," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a press release. "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."
Reps for Shah and Bravo declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE. Smith could not immediately be reached for comment.
For more on Jen Shah, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day.
Shah and Smith allegedly carried out a nationwide telemarketing scheme with the help of others between 2012 and March of this year, according to the indictment. They are accused of having "defrauded hundreds of victims" with purported business services.
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Prosecutors claim that Shah and Smith's scheme was a "coordinated effort to traffic in lists of potential victims," referred to as "leads." From there, they allegedly sold those leads to telemarketing companies that would attempt to sell business services to the targeted individuals. The pair "received as profit a share of the fraudulent revenue per the terms of their agreement with those participants," according to the indictment.
Shah and Smith were each charged with 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, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Shah rose to prominence last year as one of the stars of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, the latest installment in the hit Housewives franchise. Her bio on Bravo's website describes her as "the queen of her house and her businesses as the CEO of three marketing companies."
A source tells PEOPLE season 2 of the series is currently in production.