Carrollton mayoral candidate Zul Mirza Mohamed was arrested Thursday and charged with 109 felony counts related to voter fraud.
The Denton County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Lewisville Police Department in making the arrest, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
According to the release, the Denton County Elections Office notified the sheriff’s office on Sept. 23 of fraudulent activities with absentee ballot applications. It stated that absentee ballots had been requested to be sent to a PO Box in Lewisville, which allegedly belonged to a nursing home facility. But when officials contacted residents whose ballots had been requested, they told officials they had not requested ballots be mailed to a PO Box.
“Investigators learned the PO Box had been obtained with a fictitious Texas driver license and a fictitious University of North Texas student ID,” the release stated. “Investigators began a surveillance of the postal facility and inserted an undercover officer inside the facility.”
Investigators observed someone pick up the ballots at the PO Box and followed him to a residence in the 1600 block of Bennington Drive in Carrollton, the release stated. After executing a search warrant investigators discovered the requested ballots in his bedroom, with several of the ballots opened. Investigators also discovered the fraudulent driver license used to rent the PO Box.
Mohamed has been charged with 25 counts of unlawful possession of ballot/ballot envelope without request of voter, all second degree felonies, and 84 counts of fraudulent use of mail ballot application all third degree felonies, the release stated.
A second degree felony carries a two- to 20-year prison sentence with a possible fine up to $10,000. A third-degree felony carries a two- to 10-year prison sentence with a possible fine up to $10,000.
“I want to commend all the investigators and agencies involved in this investigation. Voter fraud is a serious and widespread issue and cannot be tolerated. The fact an actual candidate for public office would engage in these activities is appalling. We will continue to aggressively investigate allegations of voter fraud,” said Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree.
Mohamed is running against incumbent Kevin Falconer for mayor.
Falconer said he was surprised by the allegations against Mohamed.
“Mr. Mohamed deserves his due process, so I don’t want to make any judgments until he’s had that,” Falconer said. “But if it’s true it’s obviously a disappointment. This country is based on the election system, and I want to maintain that.”
Falconer said he hopes this incident doesn’t impact voters’ decisions to use absentee voting.
“This certainly doesn’t help,” Falconer said. “So many people need to use mail-in for a lot of reasons.”
As far as this year’s mayoral election, Mohamed’s name will still be on the ballot since the time has passed for his name to be withdrawn.
“I hope that when people look at who to vote for they based their decision on me and the work we’ve done and the momentum that has been made,” Falconer said.
Mohamed ran for mayor in 2017 against Falconer, Steve Babick and Michelle Beckley. Falconer and Babick went to a runoff election, where Falconer ultimately won. Mohamed secured 2.4 percent of the votes (167 votes) in the election.
During the 2017 campaign, Mohamed’s previous criminal history was brought up.
Dallas County records indicate Mohamed was arrested in April of 2010 for Class A assault, family violence. He entered a guilty/nolo contendere plea as part of a plea bargain.
Later Mohamed said that incident happened after someone threatened his mother.
In 2017 Carrollton police confirmed Mohamed was arrested in May of 2010 for failure to provide information. That stemmed from a public intoxication charge when Mohamed gave police a false date of birth. He received a citation for the public intoxication charge.
Mohamed said the public intoxication charge happened when he and a friend were at a bar and went outside to smoke, both having alcohol in their systems. Mohamed said the friend was behaving in a manner that police got involved and that Mohamed was arrested because he was there too.
This story includes information from Star Local Media archives.