'RHOSLC's Jen Shah Asks Judge to Dismiss Telemarketing Scheme Case
Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering against her that she pleaded not guilty to in April. In court documents obtained by ET, Shah is asking for the indictment against her to be dismissed due to “legal and factual insufficiency” and suppression of evidence.
Shah was arrested in March for her alleged involvement in an alleged long-running telemarketing scam. Her assistant, Stuart Smith, who has appeared on RHOSLC with Shah, was also indicted for the alleged scheme and arrested and has pleaded not guilty.
In the new court documents, 47-year-old Shah talks about the day she was arrested in Salt Lake City on her way to shoot RHOSLC. Shah says she got a call from an unknown caller on March 30 telling her to head home. She says she then got a call from Detective Christopher Bastos from the NYPD, and thought it was related to a protection order she got from a man whom she claims assaulted her in 2017 and was convicted in New York of multiple felonies for crimes against her. Shah claims the detective told her to pull over without telling her why he was calling, and she was then placed in handcuffs and told they had a warrant for her arrest.
“I was at this point very confused and emotionally off-balanced from the strange series of events, and thought I might have been the victim of false identification,” the court documents read.
Shah claims she never got a clear answer on if she was being placed under arrest, and thought that she might be in danger and that the police might be there to help her. Later, she says that although the detective read her her Miranda rights and she signed a copy, she was unable to read the document because her contact lenses were dry and her vision was blurry.
“Even while being read my rights, I did not fully understand what was going on, and still thought that one explanation might be a potential misidentification,” the court documents read. “I was eager to find out what was going on, what Det. Bastos ‘just wanted to talk to’ me about, and why he ‘wanted to make sure [I was] OK.’ Because I was not getting questions to my answers, I believed that the only way I was going to get an answer was to sign the paper and waive my rights.”
Shah also claims she was never told that their entire conversation was being recorded.
“I did not know the purpose of the conversation or what, if anything, I was being charged with until close to the end of the 1-hour, 20-minute interrogation,” the court documents read.
The New York Police Department is alleging that Shah and Smith have “hundreds” of victims in an alleged scam that ran for at least nine years, starting in 2012 and going on until March. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement, “Jennifer Shah, who portrays herself as a wealthy and successful business person 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. 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 judge previously ruled that Shah must sign a $1 million personal recognizance bond secured by $250,000 in cash or property and have the signatures of two “financially responsible persons” for her continued release. She is to have no contact with any co-defendants, victims, or witnesses except in the presence of council.
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