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'Real Housewives' star Jen Shah's charges part of larger telemarketing fraud case

Jen Shah
Posted at 8:54 AM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 21:00:42-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The federal indictment against "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star Jen Shah is part of a larger criminal case of telemarketing fraud against 11 others.

Federal court records filed in the Southern District of New York show Shah is scheduled to make a virtual appearance on Wednesday afternoon before a magistrate judge. She may enter a plea to the charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud at that time.

During a brief appearance in a federal courtroom here in Salt Lake City, a judge allowed Shah to be released from custody pending her next court appearance. She said nothing to reporters as she left the courthouse. The case has been transferred from Salt Lake City to New York City.

Shah and her assistant, Stuart Smith, are the latest to be indicted in the case dating back to 2019. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have also charged Anthony Cheedie, Chad Allen, Shane Hanna Cameron Brewster, Kevin Handren, Joseph Ciaccio, Joseh Minetto, Joseph Depaola, Derek Larkin and Mattie Cirilo with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing. Larkin and Cirilo were also charged with obstruction of justice, federal prosecutors said at the time.

"As alleged, these 10 defendants, motivated by greed and the possibility of a quick payday, aggressively targeted the elderly and other vulnerable victims throughout the United States by convincing them to invest their money in various businesses, and then scammed those victims again after pushing them deep into debt. In reality, allegedly these so-called opportunities were just fraudulent schemes to steal victims’ money, and the so-called ‘debt relief’ only further abused the trust innocent victims placed in the defendants. Now, the defendants face time in prison for their alleged crimes," then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at the time.

Like Shah and Smith's cases, the defendants are all accused of targeting elderly and vulnerable victims across the United States in an investment opportunity that prosecutors allege was really a scam. Shah and Smith were accused of trafficking in "lead lists" of hundreds of potential victims, many of whom had already been targeted in their co-defendants' work, the indictment alleges.

Court records show Larkin, Depaola, Cirilo and Ciaccio have entered guilty pleas as the case has progressed. Ciaccio struck a plea deal with prosecutors on March 24.

Shah and Smith's indictment was unsealed on March 30.

Shah, a Park City resident, has gained fame for her appearances as a cast member of the Bravo TV series "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" where she is portrayed as a glamorous and sometimes-volatile businesswoman. The show highlights the friendships and feuds of five women who live in the Salt Lake City area.