The reality gatekeeper and “Radio Andy” host returned to his SiriusXM show on Monday – the first time Cohen was back on air following news of the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star’s arrest on March 31 on federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an alleged telemarketing scam and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and while Cohen didn’t voluntarily jump on the subject, it was a caller who prompted him to break his silence.
“Oy vey,” Cohen, 52, exhaled before expounding on his disappointment.
“I’m waiting to see how it plays out,” the “Watch What Happens Live” host said. “I have nothing to add to what we already know, other than I certainly hope and pray that none of it is true.”
Shah, 47, and her first assistant, Stuart Smith, 43, each pleaded not guilty in a federal courthouse on Friday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
During the arraignment, much of the conversation centered on the amount of Shah’s bail and the judge presiding obver the matter agreed with the government’s request of setting a strict $1 million bond secured by cash or property — a request Shah’s lawyers found to be excessive.
Prosecutors also suggested that Shah is hiding assets, and that she and Smith controlled a Shell company holding at least $5 million from the fraud.
“She’s not demonstrated a willingness to disclose her assets,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kiersten Fletcher.
Jen Shah has been arrested on federal fraud charges. (Photo by: Chad Kirkland/Bravo)
In a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York this week, Shah and Smith are accused of victimizing 10 or more persons over the age of 55 a telemarketing scheme – a penalty for the count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. Shah’s second count of conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
“Jennifer Shah, who portrays herself as a wealthy and successful businessperson on ‘reality’ television, and Stuart Smith, who is portrayed as Shah’s ‘first assistant,’ allegedly generated and sold ‘lead lists’ of innocent individuals for other members of their scheme to repeatedly scam,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss alleged in a statement earlier last week.
Shah is in the main cast of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” which completed its first season in February.
According to her Bravo bio, Shah “is the queen of her house and her businesses as the CEO of three marketing companies.”
‘Watch What Happens Live’ host Andy Cohen broke his silence on ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ star Jen Shah’s federal arrest.. (Getty)
During the “Housewives” reunion, the Bravo bigwig asked Shah about her businesses.
“My background is in direct response marketing for about 20 years, so our company does advertising,” she said at the time. “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.”
Shah maintained that her businesses require ample moving pieces to keep churning and added of her multiple assistants: “I need a lot of help, you know? They all do different things,” Shah explained.
“I run a lot of different companies and businesses, and a lot of them have different roles in the companies.”
The Bravo reality star faces a maximum of 50 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Fox News’ Marta Dhanis, Melissa Roberto and The Associated Press contributed to this report.