Drama on Bravo doesn't make fans flinch, but the Jen Shah court debacle is another level entirely.
On the series debut of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, viewers meet the self-described business savvy marketer—a "Wizard of Oz" of sorts. But Shah's facade quickly crumbles during season 2 in 2021.
Her rosy, glamorous picture is interrupted by a dramatic arrest for an alleged telemarketing scheme. Shah could potentially face jail time for wire fraud charges and money laundering, though she currently maintains her innocence.
So, what exactly happened? If you thought Bravo delivered shows about gossip and drama before venturing to the Beehive State, buckle up.
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Jen Shah court case: What's going on?
A trial date has been set for March 2022. Shah filed a motion to dismiss this case in August 2021, but a judge denied the request.
According to multiple sources, Judge Sidney H. Stein revealed in December 2021: “Dismissal of an indictment is an extreme sanction that is to be utilized only in the rare case."
Shah claimed that a new Hulu documentary about her case, The Housewife & the Shah Shocker, would affect her chances of a fair trial. The film is available for streaming as of November 29, 2021.
What was Jen Shah arrested for?
While filming RHOSLC season 2, the star was indicted for allegedly participating in a telemarketing scheme alongside one of her assistants, Stuart Smith, who was arrested in Utah in March 2021, per US Weekly. It's believed they defrauded people, most of whom were elders, by selling “lead lists” for business opportunities that didn't exist.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a press release via the United States Department of Justice: "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.”
A collective effort from the New York Police Department, the United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY, HSI Salt Lake City and HSI New York is currently investigating the situation.
Is Jen Shah guilty?
Currently, Shah maintains her innocence, according to People. Her assistant, who changed his plea from not guilty to guilty, could possibly face up to 70 years in prison. He will be sentenced on March 3, 2022.
How will this play out on 'RHOSLC'?
On the November 14, 2021, episode of the series, viewers witness Shah's traumatic arrest and the raid of her home just as the ladies were about to venture to Vail, Colorado. The getaway was, obviously, interrupted when the group learned about Shah's allegations of fraud and money laundering in real-time.
In true Bravo fashion, the scenario becomes even more bizarre, as it appears that someone in the group could have potentially tipped off authorities about Shah's location. However, some allege that Shah was being tracked all along. This causes the women in the group to point fingers at one another, something Bravoholics are quite accustomed to.
Meanwhile, Shah's co-star Meredith Marks was preparing for the girls' arrival in Vail when she learns the news, but she claims she wasn't surprised by the arrest in the least.
"Too many things didn't add up and I suspected that something was going on for a while. And now it's like validated that I was right, I'm not crazy," she said.
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Jen Shah's 'RHOSLC' season 2 reveal
During the December 12, 2021 episode of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Shah reached out to her fellow castmates with a new cell phone in hopes to fill them in on what's going on. She was only able to successfully connect with Heather Gray.
When the two met for lunch, Shah revealed the frightening situations that viewers didn't see unfold on the show. She originally thought she was being kidnapped when a white minivan and black SUV began following her. Her teenage son had been approached by the FBI at their home and was allegedly held at gunpoint.
Is Jen Shah divorced?
To top things off, Shah revealed her marital woes during the show's second season debut.
Following the death of her father, Shah felt as though her husband of 26 years, with whom she shares two children, was not as supportive as he should have been. This led to differences between the two, but the 47-year-old was really thrown for a loop when her husband, a football coach at the University of Utah, contacted a divorce attorney without her knowledge.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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