On Friday morning, Jen Shah from Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” was arraigned in federal court, and pleaded not guilty to the fraud charges for which she was arrested earlier this week. The arraignment, which had been rescheduled from Wednesday after massive technical difficulties thwarted the hearing, took place before United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein.
On Tuesday, Shah was indicted and arrested for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges were brought about from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She was arrested along with her assistant, Stuart Smith, who has also been featured “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” as one of her many assistants.
Stein asked Shah how she pleaded to the two charges, and she said, “not guilty” to both.
The terms of Shah’s bail were also set. The government asked for $1 million bond, secured by $250,000 cash or property, co-signed by “financially responsible people.” Shah’s new attorney, Henry Asbill, objected to that characterization, and the judge shot down his objection, saying it was “fairly standard.”
Shah was also forbidden from taking credit card payments with the businesses that are in dispute, and her attorneys asked that exceptions be made for her side businesses of her beauty, lash and fashion business. They also mentioned that she receives money for being on “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” but that doesn’t involve credit cards.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kiersten A. Fletcher, the prosecutor, said that Shah and Smith are at the “highest level” of the scam, and operate shell companies, one of which has brought in $5 million. “The government believes that Ms. Shah and Mr. Smith” have access to a lot of cash, she said, and $250,000 is “modest” compared to how much money they’ve allegedly stolen. She said they have not been forthcoming in detailing their assets.
In terms of flight risk, Fletcher said, Shah’s public persona is “insufficient” to insure that Shah isn’t a flight risk, thus the amount of the bond. Shah has only an expired passport that was found in the search of her house, and she’s barred from applying for a new one.
The judge said Shah had filled out a statement of personal worth, and she’d written “zero,” which he thought was “highly unlikely.” Her lawyers said she was unable to get access to her financial documents, so they would clarify all of that.
The judge agreed to the bond, because he said he thought she was a flight risk. He would release her on her own personal recognizance, and she has one week to comply with the conditions. He set a number of financial conditions, and said Shah cannot engage in telemarketing or any related business. He also forbade “excessive use of alcohol.”