Jen Shah entered a plea of not guilty alongside assistant Stuart Smith on Friday.
via Page Six:
The reality TV star, 47, remains free on $1 million bond that was set Friday following her arrest three days ago on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering — for allegedly ripping off hundreds of victims in the scam she carried out with co-conspirators and that spanned six states.
Shah dialed in from Utah for her Manhattan federal court arraignment, where she told a judge she pleaded “not guilty” to both charges. She did not publicly appear on video.
Assistant US Attorney Kiersten Fletcher asked a judge to set a $1 million bond secured by $250,000 cash or property separately for Shah and her alleged right-hand man and co-defendant Stuart Smith.
Smith also pleaded not guilty.
“As your honor is aware, there was a long-running investigation and two criminal cases related to this telemarketing scheme,” Fletcher said. “The defendants both Stuart Smith and Jennifer Shah are really at the highest level of the scheme as it’s charged.”
Fletcher added that the pair had “multiple shell companies” and that just one of these companies had “received no less than $5 million in crime proceeds over just the last few years of the scheme.”
“The government’s view is that Shah and Smith together controlled no less than $5 million in crime proceeds that passed through just that one entity account. And there are other accounts in the name of other shell companies,” Fletcher added.
“We believe that $250,000 is a modest security in light of the size of the fraud here and Ms. Shah’s access to the proceeds of the fraud,” Fletcher said.
Manhattan federal court Judge Sidney Stein noted that Shah’s financial disclosure forms from her arrest “lists as assets simply a checking and savings account of an amount that she stated were unknown leading to a net worth of zero on this form.”
“Which one would think is highly unlikely given the public figure she has become,” Stein added.
Earlier in the hearing, Shah’s lawyer Daniel Alonso said his client agrees to the $1 million bond but said it wasn’t necessary to make her put up the extra $250,000 to secure it.
In related news, a source close to Bravo says that the network hired a third party through a production company to conduct a background check on Jen, as it did with all the “RHOSLC” wives — and it came back with nothing.
“Even in the best background checks, [the alleged scheme] is not going to come up — if there was a history of or current illegal activity, then that would be uncovered,” a source close to production said.
“There is a comprehensive background check and reports are vetted through the network and the production company.”
Sources said the probe would have only found past wrongdoing that was in the public record, not uncover any secret ongoing schemes.
“Since this investigation and arrest only happened this week, there would be no prior red flags that would have shown up,” a source said Friday. “Bravo is not the FBI.”
We hope Jen is continuing to film while she’s out on bond. This will make for a compelling storyline right before she goes off to jail.