Jennifer Shah of 'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' pleads not guilty to fraud

AARON KATERSKY
·2 min read

Jennifer Shah, a cast member of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" who's bragged about spending $50,000 per month, pleaded not guilty on Friday to criminal charges that suggested her lavish life has been funded through fraud.

Shah and her assistant, Stuart Smith, were charged this week with conspiring to engage in a "wide-ranging telemarketing scheme" that federal prosecutors allege defrauded thousands.

Federal prosecutors said Shah and Smith represent the "highest level of the scheme" and began founding shell companies in 2017 to launder proceeds. One such company, Mastery Pro Group, contained $5 million, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kiersten Fletcher.

PHOTO: Jen Shah, a cast member from the reality TV series 'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' looks on while being driven from the federal courthouse on March 30, 2021 in Salt Lake City.   (Rick Bowmer/AP)
PHOTO: Jen Shah, a cast member from the reality TV series 'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' looks on while being driven from the federal courthouse on March 30, 2021 in Salt Lake City. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Shah and Smith appeared via video conference before a federal judge in Manhattan, where the charges originated.

"How do you plead to the charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud?" Judge Sidney Stein asked.

"Not guilty," Shah answered.

"And how do you plead to the charges in count two, conspiracy to commit money laundering?"

"Not guilty," Shah answered again.

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Fletcher said Shah has not been forthcoming about her assets and asked that she sign a $1 million personal recognizance bond secured by $250,000 cash or property and two co-signers. The judge agreed.

Shah's bail package also restricted her transactions to amounts below $5,000. Additionally, she cannot accept credit card charges for anything other than her beauty, fashion and lashes businesses that are unrelated to the alleged telemarketing fraud.

PHOTO: Jen Shah is pictured during Season 1 of 'The Real Housewives' on Aug., 19, 2020. (Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Jen Shah is pictured during Season 1 of 'The Real Housewives' on Aug., 19, 2020. (Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, FILE)

The defense insisted Shah is not a flight risk.

"She is obviously well known," defense attorney Henry Asbill said. "We don't believe she has a current passport and certainly won't apply for one, but we don't think she could flee anywhere and not be known."

At first the judge appeared to agree.

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"Ms. Shah, I've come to learn, is a participant in a popular television show," Stein said. "Her image is active on social media. I must say it's unlikely she could disappear somewhere and not be located."

But the judge concluded Shah is a potential flight risk and limited her travel. She's also not allowed to have any contact with co-defendants or have anything to do with telemarketing.

Jennifer Shah of 'Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' pleads not guilty to fraud originally appeared on abcnews.go.com