After Jen Shah’s bombshell arrest while she was filming for Real Housewives of Salt Lake City her castmates immediately started clamoring to understand what was going on. Meredith Marks took a luxurious bath to process Jen’s arrest and proclaimed that she saw it coming. Others, like Whitney Rose, wanted to know: How did Jen make her money?
When Jen Shah launched her brand on the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City in 2020, her lifestyle was unbelievable. She and her husband Coach Sharrieff Shah a rented a $3.9 million mansion she named the “Shah Ski Chalet,” and upgrade from their previous home, which they sold in 2020 for $213,000 at an almost $100,000 loss.
Not only were they paying over $8,0000 a month in rent for the Shah Chalet, for the premiere of Season 1 of RHOSLC Jen spent $85,000 on a birthday party for fellow cast member Meredith Marks.
Sharrieff Shah makes a really nice salary. In 2020 he reportedly pulled in $553,215.17, which is still not enough to cover the excessive spending Jen was showcasing on the show. On an audition tape for the show Jen bragged about spending $50k a month and her husband Sharrieff admitted that Jen’s spending was a huge source of stress for their family.
Where all this money came from could be explained by the charges brought against her in March 2021, if they are true. Jen Shah denies that she is guilty.
During the Season 1 reunion, Jen explained her businesses with a bit of word salad.
“I run a lot of different companies and businesses and a lot of them have different roles in the companies,” she vaguely told Andy Cohen.
Andy further clarifies by asking what Jen actually does, and how she got so rich.
“My background is in direct response marketing for about 20 years, so our company does, you know, advertising,” she says. “We have a platform that helps people acquire customers, so when you’re shopping online, or on the Internet, and something pops, we have the algorithm, behind why you’re getting served that ad.”
She’s charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and a conspiracy to commit money laundering via a nationwide, decade-long telemarketing scheme.
If the charges are true, the Hulu documentary The Housewife and the Shah Shocker outlines some real telemarketing schemes that run by collecting information from people clicking on Facebook ads and filling out forms, which kind of lines up with Jen’s claim that she has a “platform to acquire customers.”
Many companies are run by collecting information online, but there are laws in place to protect the consumer. A major difference between a real company and a fraudulent one is that a law-abiding company will deliver the goods and services promised and be upfront about costs.
The insidious thing about the type of marketing Jen is alleged to have been involved with is that it targets elderly and vulnerable people who don’t know a lot about the internet, but may have access to a good deal of money and credit lines.
In the scheme outlined in the Hulu documentary, people click on Facebook ads advertising to help them start a work-at-home business. The person fills in details like their name, phone number, and credit card information. Once the predatory company gets the person’s phone number, they will then call them incessantly promising them all sorts of services like web development and business management. They will ask invasive questions about the amount of money the person has access to and try to maximize the amount they can get out of their “mark.”
Several of the victims interviewed for the documentary have lost a huge chunk of their life savings because of promises that they could start their own business in retirement.
The charges against Jen come from an investigation that started in New York years ago before Jen had signed on to Real Housewives or leased the Shah Chalet.
Jen Shah’s assistant Stuart Smith was also charged along with Jen in March, 2021. He initially pled not-guilty, but changed his plea to guilty in November, 2021.