Only weeks after the freshman season and reunion of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City aired, its standout star, Jen Shah, was arrested. She was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in a nationwide telemarketing scheme, with a trial set for later this year. However, Shah has been faced with another setback of late, as new details have come to light concerning the degree of her culpability. The reality star has, in fact, decided to respond to the claims made by the federal government.
The new court documents in Jen Shah's legal case, which describe Shah and her assistant, Stuart Smith, as being “responsible for orchestrating the broader scheme,” as well as supplying leads for it. In fact, according to TMZ, who obtained the documents, the two are among four individuals labeled in the investigation’s Tier A of senior-ranking participants, with Tiers 1-4 containing 23 low-ranking individuals. But Shah’s lawyer Priya Chaudhry hit back against the allegations, saying in a statement to People:
After investigating for nearly ten years, and a 12-day trial in which Ms. Shah was never mentioned, the Government suddenly lobs this absurd claim. This is just their latest made-up allegation, and like all others, totally unsupported by evidence. The reality is — she is totally innocent.
According to People, other defendants in Jen Shah’s felony case have already been found guilty and sentenced. One Tier A defendant was apparently sentenced to 78 months in prison, whereas others received sentences ranging from just over a year to 87 months. The maximum penalty for Shah's alleged crimes can reach upwards of 20 years in prison.
However, Jen Shah has maintained her innocence since her first arraignment hearing back in April and even joked about a movement amongst Bravo fans to “Free Jen.” The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star actually attempted to get her case thrown out in court, citing being “coerced” by the arresting officers and detectives. She received a lot of online criticism for the attempt, as well as for a previous decision to start a GoFundMe for her ongoing legal fees.
The allegations are about as serious as they get, as Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne knows very well, too. Even the infamous “Shah Chalet” rental has been sold out from under her. But Jen Shah's Real Housewives of Salt Lake City co-stars have reportedly been supportive, as they filmed the aftermath of the legal drama for the show’s Season 2. Even her once BFF-turned-opposition Heather Gay said she wanted to “lean in” to the discomfort of the moment and not turn away from Shah.
Fans will supposedly see Jen Shah’s actual March arrest in the footage for Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’s second season, along with the cast’s reactions to the news and Shah’s journey from that point. But ultimately, we will have to wait and see how her trial shakes out on October 18.