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'Real Housewives' star Jennifer Shah pleads not guilty to fraud scheme

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jennifer Shah has been indicted in a fraud scheme. Photo courtesy of Jen Shah/Facebook
"Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star Jennifer Shah has been indicted in a fraud scheme. Photo courtesy of Jen Shah/Facebook

April 3 (UPI) -- Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jennifer Shah has pleaded not guilty to charges related to a nationwide telemarketing scheme.

She entered the plea during a virtual hearing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday. Judge Sidney Stein ordered that Shah can remain free if she posted a $1 million personal bond.

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Federal prosecutors accused Shah and her assistant, Stuart Smith, of perpetrating a scheme in which they sold several services, including tax preparation and web design aimed at making their client's businesses more efficient and profitable.

"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," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.

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Most of the pair's alleged victims were over 55 years old and some didn't own computers, the complaint against them read.

"Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their 'success.' In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people," Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said in a statement.

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"As alleged, disturbingly, Shah and Smith objectified their very real human victims as 'leads' to be bought and sold, offering their personal information for sale to other members of their fraud ring."

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Shah and Smith allegedly earned profit shares per the terms of the fraudulent agreements.

They were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Shah is the wife of University of Utah assistant football coach Sharrieff Shah.

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In the last season of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Shah was noted for her bad behavior, including an incident in which she threw a glass during an argument with a castmate.

Kyle Barnett contributed to this report.

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