Jen Shah seems like a really terrible person.
But here’s the thing, right?
Reality television viewers love a good villain.
They love to have someone to hate on a weekly basis, no matter what they may claim to the contrary on social media or in the Comments section of celebrity gossip websites such as this onee.
This is why Jen Shah may be headed to prison.
She may even be headed for the fiery pits of Hell someday.
But she’ll also be headed directly into your living room whenever The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Season 2 premieres in late 2021.
According to insiders, Bravo executives see Shah’s brand new and ongoing scandal as “ratings gold” for the franchise, considering all the attention it has already generated and all it will likely to continue to generate over the next few months.
Yes, Shah was arrested on March 30 for Jen for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
And, yes, the details of her alleged misdeeds are incredibly heinous.
But one need to look no further than Teresa Guidice on The Real Housewives of New Jersey to understand that Bravo isn’t afraid to feature convicts on air — in a prominent role, no less.
Federal prosecutors have accused the reality star and her assistant, Stuart Smith, of running a years-long telemarketing scheme that reportedly defrauded thousands of vulnerable victims, many of them elderly, out of millions of dollars.
Said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in a press release late last month:
“[Shah] generated and sold ‘lead lists’ of innocent individuals for other members of their scheme to repeatedly scam.
“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.”
If convicted on all charges, Shah — who pleaded not guilty in court on April 2 — faces up to 30 years behind bars.
She supposedly learned of her arrest, and was taken into custody, while on board a bus and getting ready to take a trip to Vail for a Season 2 episode of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.
“Production sees this as a great story line,” an insider tells Us Weekly, confirming that scenes Shah has already filmed will air as planned and that she wants to keep shooting now that she’s out on bail.
“They’re going to use as much footage as they can that they’re legally allowed to use,” the tabloid adds.
Going forward, however?
“There’s a good chance Bravo won’t ask Jen back,” another source has told Life & Style in its latest print issue.
“Scamming the elderly out of their hard-earned money is as low as you can get.”
That. Is. For. Certain.
Although Bravo has yet to comment officially on the bruhaha, Andy Cohen did briefly address the situation on his radio show.
“Oy vey! I’m waiting to see how it plays out,” he said on April 2. “I have nothing to add to what we already know, other than I certainly hope and pray that none of it is true.”
We’re pretty sure it’s all true.
No matter what Shah says on the matter.
“Shah and Smith flaunted their lavish lifestyle to the public as a symbol of their ‘success,’” HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said in his own statement.
“In reality, they allegedly built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.
“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.
“Working with our partners at the NYPD and the United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY, and with the assistance of HSI Salt Lake City, HSI New York worked to ensure that Shah and Smith will answer for their alleged crimes.
“As a result, their new reality may very well turn out differently than they expected.”