Colorado Probate Blog - Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C.

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The Shah Sham

In the season two premiere of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, viewers were shocked by the arrest of cast member Jen “Shah” Sharrieff.

After the first season aired, Shah quickly became a fan favorite, known for her outrageous personality, her endless drama, and most notably, her extravagant lifestyle. Claiming to spend $50,000 a month, Shah jetted around on private planes, had an entire team of employees for her makeup and hair (aka the “Shah Squad”), and threw a number of elaborate parties that cost up to $80,000.

The source of Shah’s money, however, remained unclear. Shah’s husband works as a football coach for the University of Utah and, according to publicly available information, earns just over $450,000 a year. A substantial salary, but not enough to cover Shah’s alleged spending habits. Meanwhile, Shah’s own business dealings were shrouded in mystery. In an interview for the show, when asked about her business, she described herself as the “Wizard of Oz”.

Federal agents, however, have provided a much more comprehensive description of Shah’s
business. According to court documents, Shah has been involved in a telemarketing scam that primarily targets the elderly and other vulnerable individuals. The scam involves collecting lead lists of susceptible individuals and then selling those individuals non-existent products and services.

Shah’s role in this scam was unearthed following the arrest, indictment, and subsequent conviction of Arash Ketabchi, who ran a similar scheme in the state of New York. Ketabchi was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay over $1.5 million in fines and restitution.

Both Shah and her business partner Stuart Smith were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. In December of 2021, Smith pled guilty to the charges and is rumored to be providing evidence and testimony against Shah in her upcoming trial. Despite this development, Shah maintains her innocence, stating in her season two Housewives tagline that “The only thing [she’s] guilty of is being Shah-mazing”. Shah’s trial date is set for July of this year, but for now, viewers will be able to continue watching her on the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. If convicted, she faces up to 50 years in prison.

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