Shah also meets up with one of her RHOSLC costars for the first time since her arrest — and said she thought she was getting kidnapped.
Jen Shah had the most airtime since her arrest on Sunday’s new episode of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” — swearing to both her husband and costar Heather Gay she’s innocent.
Shah stands accused of generating and selling “lead lists” of innocent people who could be targeted as part of a telemarketing scam for almost a decade. Many of the victims were elderly and working class. She pled not guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges in April.
Following her arrest, Shah changed her number and started reaching out to the other women in the cast. Viewers watched as Lisa Barlow admitted she was hesitant to speak with her, telling her husband she was planning to “tread lightly” with Jen for now and deciding against calling her back. Heather Gay, however, immediately agreed to meet up for lunch.
It’s unclear whether Jen reached out to the other ladies, but only Heather agreed to take her up on her offer, as the two met at a local steakhouse. Rocking a red fur coat, extravagant earrings and her hair and makeup done impeccably, Shah first told Heather she really needed a friend right now — before revealing what happened after she left the other women in the bus before the trip to Vail.
She stood by her story that whoever called her said her husband Sharrieff wasn’t feeling well — something that now feels like a tactic to get her to return home, so she could be arrested. She said that while she was driving, a white minivan and black SUV pulled up. “I’m thinking, I’m being kidnapped,” she recalled. Shah said the arresting officers informed her they were from New York, needed to speak with her and would be taking her into custody. From there, she was taken to some kind of office building break room, where she said she was handcuffed to a chair while asking what was going on.
“I didn’t think I needed an attorney or anything like that, because I didn’t do anything,” she added.
Shah also started to get emotional as she explained what was happening at her home while all this was going on — telling Heather that her son Omar and some of her family members were held at gunpoint.
“We tell the boys, ‘You’re Black in a predominately white community. Don’t move, don’t say anything, be polite,'” she continued, choking up. “And it makes me sick because what if they would have thought Omar moved the wrong way or did something, they could have shot him. That makes me sick.”
Heather, in a confessional, agreed some of the alleged tactics used on Jen’s family were “unnecessary, over the top, unfair and aggressive,” adding that she was “infuriated by it.”
“It’s really unfair, the things that the government can do to you without having any real proof or anything,” she continued, before sharing that she was being held in the same place as longtime assistant Stuart Smith — who recently entered a not guilty plea on the same charges, before changing it to guilty earlier last month.
“I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Stuart looked at me and was like, ‘I’m sorry,'” she said, appearing to throw Stuart under the bus. “We’re not partners in any business. Stuart was my assistant and we just evolved a friendship.”
When asked if she thought Stuart knew what was happening, Shah said she wasn’t sure. “I would say no, but then I’m like, am I being naïve?” she wondered. In a confessional, she added, “Stuart had his own businesses he was running, he had his own things he was doing. That has nothing to do with me.”
Heather then filled Jen in on the trip to Vail and Lisa’s over the top reaction to Shah’s arrest. She also relayed that both Lisa and Meredith Marks made it clear they’d be distancing themselves from her for the time being.
“I’m not here to convince Lisa and Meredith that I’m innocent or a good person,” said an upset Shah. “I want a big f—ing ‘I’m sorry and I’m a piece of shit’ from them when I’m proven innocent, because that is so s—-y.”
Later in the hour, Jen was seen eating some Popeye’s with Sharrieff, first expressing her disappointment with all her friends.
“If you care about me, you would be like, ‘Jen are you okay?’ Out of everybody, Heather responded to me. Regardless of what we went through, she was there,” she told him. “You know how hurt I was, I’m expecting Lisa to respond. I will respect what people need to go through, but I expect different from Lisa.”
“I’m at the lowest point of my life, but I have told you from day one, I am innocent,” she said, as she began to plead with her husband to believe her. “I did not do any of those things. When we got married, for better or for worse, and this is for worse right now. It’s a burden because what happened, I’m telling you, I knew nothing of this. I didn’t do anything!”
He eventually made it clear he did in fact believe her, before Shah then took aim at her husband’s family for their lack of support at this time.
“I feel like I’m doing this on my own with you. We’ve helped your family for years and I haven’t heard from anybody,” she said. “This is the one time in my life I really need to know people believe in me. That’s what I need right now and I feel like I’m on an island. I can count the people who are here for me on one hand. It’s been very eye opening and sad.”
Sharrieff agreed it was “painful” and “hard” to feel like those they’ve helped haven’t given the same support in return, before Jen said she was “f—ing scared” she’d miss their sons graduations. “Where the f— is everybody?!” she then exclaimed, “I’ve been there for them this whole time!”
“I’m telling you as your husband, just because you haven’t heard from them, people hurt and love you,” he tried to convince her. “I’ve tried to be a better gatekeeper and I’m sorry but I’m telling you, my family, my mother, my father, my brothers, my sister love you. This is a lot of pain and we’ll get through it. We’re stronger than you think. Our faith will not falter and I will not leave you, period.”
She was last seen telling him, “I don’t understand why this is happening.”
Shah will reunite with the entire cast for the first time since her arrest next week. New episodes of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” air Sundays on Bravo.