November 28, 2021
jen shah and start smith

Real Housewives star Jen Shah’s assistant Stuart Smith changes plea to guilty in telemarketing scheme case

Jen Shah‘s assistant Stuart Smith has pleaded guilty to the fees in opposition to him concerning his involvement in a nationwide telemarketing scheme. 

After beforehand pleading not guilty alongside the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star, Smith, 43, modified his plea to guilty throughout a Friday look earlier than Southern District of New York Choose Sidney H. Stein. 

Smith was arrested and charged in March with one depend of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in reference to telemarketing — by way of which he allegedly victimized 10 or extra individuals over the age of 55 — one depend of conspiracy to commit cash laundering and one depend of obstructing an official continuing. 

His boss, Shah, 48, was arrested and charged on the identical time. The 2 pleaded not guilty throughout an arraignment in April, and Shah has continued to maintain her innocence

Stein set Smith’s sentencing for March third and launched him on bail in the meantime. The choose additionally famous that the utmost mixed sentence for the three prices is 70 years in jail. 

In accordance to a earlier courtroom doc obtained by PEOPLE, others who have been concerned in the identical telemarketing scheme and pleaded guilty to comparable prices got sentences starting from about 5 to 7 years.   

‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake Metropolis’ star Jen Shah’s assistant, Stuart Smith, modified his plea to guilty in telemarketing scheme case. | Credit score: Gabe Ginsberg/Bravo/NBCU Picture Financial institution by way of Getty; Alberto Reyes/Shutterstock

Throughout his listening to, Smith learn out an announcement admitting to his crimes relating to numerous telemarketing firms he mentioned he both helped create or labored for between 2008 and 2021.   

“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,” he started. 

Smith continued, sharing that he “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,” he mentioned.

A lawyer for Smith didn’t instantly reply to PEOPLE’s request for remark.  

Jen Shah | Credit score: Jen Shah/Instagram

In a press release saying Shah and Smith’s arrests earlier this 12 months, prosecutors alleged they carried out a nationwide telemarketing scheme with the assistance of others between 2012 and March of this 12 months. They have been accused of getting “defrauded hundreds of victims” with purported enterprise providers.

Prosecutors additional claimed that Shah and Smith’s scheme was a “coordinated effort to traffic in lists of potential victims,” referred to as “leads.” From there, they allegedly offered these leads to telemarketing firms that will try to promote enterprise providers to the focused people. Each “received as profit a share of the fraudulent revenue per the terms of their agreement with those participants,” in accordance to the indictment.

In accordance to a courtroom doc obtained by PEOPLE in July, Shah and Smith are each “Tier A” defendants in the continued fraud case. The doc claims the duo have been “responsible for orchestrating the broader scheme” and “supplying the leads that sustained” the telemarketing firms. 

In September, Shah appeared alongside The Real Housewives of Potomac‘s Gizelle Bryant on Bravo’s “Spilling Iced Tea” Instagram Dwell and addressed her ongoing authorized woes.

“I think what people don’t understand is, here in America, you’re innocent until proven guilty. I’m innocent,” she mentioned. “And I believe that this is not just my test, this is everybody’s test close to me and in my corner.”