KEY POINTS

  • Jen Shah's court arraignment was rescheduled due to an influx of people in the call
  • At least 250 people joined the online call
  • Many ignored the judge's request to mute their lines

Reality TV star Jen Shah of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” was unable to participate in her own arraignment on Wednesday when more than 250 people called in to join the virtual hearing. 

Shah, 47, was ordered to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein but the huge volume of fans and others who crashed the video conference blocked her from connecting. Her attorney, Clayton Simms, also had technical difficulties entering the conference. Shah's assistant, Stuart Smith, and his attorney, Gil Athay, did get through, with the lawyer kidding around that he connected because he logged on early enough to beat the crowd.

Shah and Smith were arrested in Salt Lake City and charged on Tuesday in connection with laundering and defrauding money from hundreds of individuals, many over the age of 55, in a nationwide scheme, a superseding indictment unsealed this week noted. 

“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,” Audrey Strauss, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a release.

“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,” Strauss continued. 

Some of the people who joined the call ignored Stein’s requests to mute their lines.

"I'm on for the 'Housewives' trial," one fan said

"Do you watch Bravo?" another caller chimed in. 

"This is inadequate,” Stein was heard saying before he adjourned the hearing. The arraignment has been rescheduled for Friday.

Both Shah and Smith were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

The pair were not asked to remain in custody and were later released without bond. However, they are prohibited from engaging in telemarketing, moving more than $10,000 out of their personal accounts, and leaving Utah. 

If confirmed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson would be in a good position to become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court (pictured December 2017) If confirmed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson would be in a good position to become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court (pictured December 2017) Photo: AFP / mari matsuri