Allen Real Estate Agent Guilty Of Online Harassment

ALLEN (CBSDFW.COM) – Jessica Smith of Bonham never imagined that her Facebook page would be used to attack her Facebook friends. “My entire world just flipped,” recalled Smith. “Eight people that I love and care about had been attacked; they thought by me.”

Smith says the real culprit was her former boss who works as a real estate agent based in Allen. “I absolutely felt violated,” Smith said.

James Patrick DeLaGarza pled guilty to Online Harassment, nearly a year and half after Smith quit her job as DeLaGarza’s office administrator.

The 30-year-old was working for the agency in 2010. Smith quit after only four months on the job and that’s when the online attacks started. “When I got home, I tried to log into my Facebook and I couldn’t log in,” explained Smith.

Smith admits that she used her personal e-mail account and Facebook page for work purposes and that’s how DeLaGarza gained access to her passwords.

She claims her former boss was sending cruel messages to her Facebook friends, including nasty comments about their weight, their family members and their pets. “I started getting messages back from my friends saying how could you say these things? Do you really think this of me? What’s wrong with you,” Smith recounted.

Smith says DeLaGarza also deleted everything in her e-mail account, including tax returns and other important documents.

Police traced the attacks to DeLaGarza’s office and home and following Thursday’s guilty plea, he was placed on six years probation and fined $2,000.

Smith says she’s glad she called police to stop the online harassment before it got worse. “I was looking over my shoulder, constantly paranoid of what was going to happen next? What else did this person get a hold of? What else are they going to do,” she recalled.

CBS 11 was unable to reach DeLaGarza before our story aired. However, his attorney, Jeremy Rosenthal, did return our phone call. Rosenthal says his client wants to get this behind him and that they feel the punishment is enough.

Comments

One Comment

  1. YRofTexas says:

    Let me ask this:
    Why wasn’t his Real Estate Broker’s License suspended or lose his license entirely? Denied to practice Real Estate, “death penalty” to his career?
    He got off very easily and it is a JOKE.
    I will keep his name in mind when my hubby and I begin searching for a home, as he obviously lacks character and needs to do hard time.

    1. ilvrw says:

      I agree. That sort of fine and probation for Identity Theft from the workplace should have brought harsher penalties. I am hoping she reports him to the Real Estate Licensing Commission just so they are aware.

      1. Dan says:

        Unfortunately the Real Estate Licensing Commission is pretty much a joke when it comes to disciplining agents.

    2. Jessica Smith says:

      Please forward your comment to the Collin County Association of Realtors and Texas Real Estate Commission… Maybe if enough people speak up, they will do the right thing…

  2. BG says:

    “However, his attorney, Jeremy Rosenthal, did return our phone call. Rosenthal says his client wants to get this behind him and that they feel the punishment is enough.”

    The question is, “Was the lesson learned, or does he just want to put this behind him because he got busted and is embarrassed?” Bullies like this always have a justification for their bad behavior and don’t ever feel a need to be accountable for hurting others. I wouldn’t be surprised if he feels victimized himself somehow by this going public. Six years probation and a $2k fine? What a joke!

  3. Dan says:

    Nothing this guy does surprises me. I’ve heard and seen him verbally (and with emails) attack clients and fellow agents. He threatened to sue me for libel if I released some of his emails. I just didn’t want to go thru the attorney thing even tho I knew I’d win.

    His idea of selling a house was to list it and let other agents bring in prospective buyers. Not once did he bring a buyer.

    He also would give his clients the lock box codes so they could look at houses without him being there. I know of one lady this happened to several times. Nothing like being safe..

    He really does need to have his real estate license taken away permanently.

  4. wordson says:

    I have a idea of selling a house.Legend Trail Real Estate

  5. John Tebbetts says:

    Your information and commentary are 100% on point, and very insightful. We enjoy reading the comments and questions submitted by your readers, and the excellent answers and advice offered. Keep up the good work!

    John Tebbetts
    USA Home Buyer
    America’s Leading National Home Buyer
    http://www.USAHomeBuyer.net

  6. New York Real Estate Broker says:

    AS someone who is in the field of real estate sales, specializing in New York apartments in Manhattan, I have feared this sort of thing happening as well. I feel this way because when you work in a technologically advanced office, with a dedicated IT department, they can really see everything, and I mean everything, you do online. For this reason, you must be very careful about what you do and say online while you are at the office.

    1. Jessica Smith says:

      In a large corporation, yes – absolutely! But in an office with only a few people in and out – and doing tasks as instructed by your boss?? If I’m on a computer at work, ANYWHERE, I can’t complain if ‘corporate’ sees what goes on… But ANYONE accessing personal accounts of others on their own time, from their own home, using login and password information obtained without consent, and then posing as the person who’s ‘cyber-identity’ has effectively been stolen? NEVER acceptable. Period.

  7. paycheck to paycheck says:

    James was our realtor several years ago when we were trying to buy a new house. After our house did not sell in a few weeks, he started sending us emails about how we and our house were disgusting. He called us “paycheck to paycheck losers” and wrote that my thyroid cancer was not as black as my heart. He tried to get me in trouble with my former boss at an AISD middle school and he emailed friends of ours with private financial information. We reported him to the Texas Real Estate Commission, but they told us that there was nothing that they could do legally. We know several other people who have been affected by him as well. He told one divorced woman that she may have gotten out of her wedding vows, but he wasn’t getting out of their contract. He told another that he couldn’t believe her husband was practicing psychiatry. We are glad to know that he is finally getting in trouble for harassing one of the many he has harassed over the years.

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