'Housewives' star arrested by feds for fraud and more ICYMI news

'Housewives' star arrested by feds for fraud and more ICYMI news

April 2, 2021
Federal arrest

“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah was arrested by federal authorities on March 30 on wire fraud and money laundering charges in connection with a telemarketing scheme. Jen’s assistant, Stuart Smith, was also arrested. The indictment out of the Southern District of New York claimed Jen and Stuart ripped off hundreds of victims across the country, mainly elderly people, by encouraging them to invest in online projects and selling them nonexistent business services for years. They are alleged to have compiled lists “leads” — people previously exploited. They allegedly shared those victims’ names with co-conspirators who could exploit them again. Jen and Stuart would then take a cut, feds claim. Jen, who was filming “Housewives” just before the arrest and has since been ordered to follow a list of financial rules handed down by a judge as she awaits her trail, was arraigned on April 2. The Homeland Security Investigations Agency said in a statement that she and Stuart “built their opulent lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable, often elderly, working-class people.” If convicted, they could face 30 years in prison on the first count and up to 20 on the second.

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Shoe scandal

On March 29, Lil Nas X and streetwear company MSCHF released a Nike Air Max 97 sneaker decorated with a pentagram pendant, the number of a Bible verse and a drop of human blood inside the sole (which came from members of the MSCHF team). Each pair cost $1,018 (a reference to Luke 10:18, which describes Satan being cast from heaven). All 666 pairs sold out in under a minute. Hours later, Nike filed a lawsuit against MSCHF for the “Satan Shoes,” claiming trademark infringement. Lil Nas X was not named in the lawsuit. At the same time, the music star faced backlash not only for the shoe collaboration but for his controversial newly released and sexually charged music video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” in which he gives a lap dance to Satan in hell before killing the devil and taking his horned crown. Amid the outrage, the “OLd Town Road” Grammy winner tweeted, “i thought y’all didn’t like political correctness. what happened?” Following the Nike lawsuit, he also posted a funny meme about losing all his money in court. On April 1, a judge blocked all sales of the shoe amid the lawsuit.

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Hoarder death

Emmy-winning set designer Evelyn Sakash had been missing for seven months when her body was finally found on March 30 inside her New York home under a pile of debris. The New York Daily News called it “an avalanche of garbage.” Evelyn, who’d previously worked on “Taxi,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Billions” and more, was last heard from in September 2020. Her family was so concerned about her whereabouts that they even set up a GoFundMe page to help with the investigation of her disappearance. During this time, Evelyn’s sister had been maintaining her sister’s messy residence. Eventually, she decided to have it cleaned, which was a feat, as Evelyn had become a hoarder in recent years. Once a cleaning crew began work, Evelyn’s body was found under the piles of trash. In 2003, Evelyn won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding achievement in art direction/set decoration/scenic design for her work on the children’s television series “Between the Lions.”

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Ariana Grande is in the money! Reports this week indicated that the singer is joining “The Voice” next season, and she’ll become the highest paid coach in the history of the show. Rob Shuter said on the “Naughty But Nice” podcast that Ariana’s deal is worth $20 to $25 million. That puts her on par with Katy Perry’s salary at rival show “American Idol.” It’s believed that  fellow “The Voice” coaches Blake Shelton and John Legend make about $13 million a season, and Kelly Clarkson makes about $15 million.

Speaking out

Nearly two months after the “Framing Britney Spears” documentary was released, the pop star at the center of the controversial New York Times project has broken her silence about it — and she didn’t like how she was portrayed. “I didn’t watch the documentary but from what I did see of it I was embarrassed by the light they put me in … I cried for two weeks and well …. I still cry sometimes !!!!” she wrote on Instagram on March 30. Britney’s words came as her father, Jamie Spears, petitioned the court to have Britney’s estate foot the massive bill for his legal expenses — much of which is going to keeping her conservatorship in place and controlled by him, something Britney is against — as he’s fought her and her lawyers in court.

Sexuality reveal

Demi Lovato has said she’s a part of the “alphabet mafia,” otherwise known as the LGBTQIA+ community. The singer told Joe Rogan on his podcast this week that she identifies as “pansexual,” meaning she’s attracted to people without regard to biological sex, gender or gender identity. Demi has long been open about her sexuality and not being straight, but she now has used this label that she says best describes her. “I heard someone call the LGBTQIA+ community ‘the alphabet mafia’ … That’s it!” she said. “That’s what I’m going with. I’m part of the alphabet mafia and proud.”

Social experiment

Hailey Bieber is no longer on Twitter because she feels it’s “toxic.” On March 31, the model spoke about her relationship with social media and dealing with cyberbullies. Hailey said she deleted her Twitter because of the negativity she faced on the platform. “There was never really a time when I would go on there where it didn’t feel like a very toxic environment,” she said in a YouTube video. “The thought of even opening the app gives me such bad anxiety that I feel like I’m going to throw up… It just needs to not be a part of my life.” As for Instagram, she said she only looks at it on weekends and limits to her comments on her page to those people she follows. “Now when I put up a photo or a video or anything, I know it’s only going to be people that… are going to be positive, and only going to encouraging and uplifting,” she said.

Tooth fools

The gap ain’t going nowhere! On March 30, Michael Strahan posted a video to social media in which it appeared that he closed the gap in his teeth. Many people thought this might be a ruse for an April Fool’s Day prank… and they were right! On April 1, the “Good Morning America” co-host said his trademark look is a part of him. “Come on, man. The gap is here to stay for a little while. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So April Fools, everybody,” he said. Michael noted that he was surprised at all the media coverage his “tooth fix” got. “I feel really bad about actually not closing it after everything that I saw,” he said. “But the gap is here. The gap is not going anywhere for a while. My mama likes it, so there you go. It’s for you, Mama.”

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