Fox News confirmed that Smith, 43, is pleading guilty after appearing on Friday before Southern District of New York Judge Sidney H. Stein.
In March 2021, Smith and Shah were arrested for allegedly conspiring to commit wire fraud and laundering money in connection to a purported telemarketing scam. They were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They allegedly victimized 10 or more people over the age of 55.
“Jennifer Shah, who portrays herself as a wealthy and successful businessperson 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,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss alleged in a statement.
Jen Shah filming a scene on “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” (Gabe Ginsberg/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Prosecutors say Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their “success,” which they claim is all a fraud. “In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people,” added New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh.
The New York Police Department said the number of victims Shah and Smith have duped stand in the “hundreds,” adding that the alleged fraud had been perpetuated for nearly a decade, starting in 2012.
Shah (L) and her assistant (R) in an episode of the Bravo reality TV show. (Bravo/RHOSLC)
“These individuals allegedly targeted and defrauded hundreds of victims but thanks to the hard work of the NYPD and our law enforcement partners, this illegal scheme was brought to an end,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in the statement.
Smith’s sentencing is now set for March 3, and he was released on bail. According to People magazine, Smith read a statement to Judge Stein which said, “I knowingly and intentionally discussed and engaged with other individuals to develop a plan or operation to obtain money by false representation by offering and inducing individuals, many of whom were over 50 years of age or older, to provide money to entities that I and others were involved with.”
Shah, 47, of Park City, Utah, and Stuart Smith, 43, of Lehi, Utah, were arrested in Utah on charges including conspiracy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowme)
Smith continued, “[I] became aware that these telemarketing companies were misleading customers of those entities by selling individuals, many of them who were older than 50 years of age, information that purported to be services to enhance their business opportunities.”
“The services sold were of no value and of no real benefit to the customer,” Smith concluded. Lawyers for Smith and Shah did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Shah’s trial is scheduled to begin in March 2022.
On Instagram, Shah thanked her followers for their support. “Y’all see who these ladies really are,” she wrote. “They have zero compassion for me and my family. It takes an evil person to take delight in what we’re going through. I’m [100%] innocent and I hope the ladies each learn a valuable lesson from this & stop judging others.”
Fox News’ Julius Young and Melissa Roberto contributed to this report.