CARROLLTON (CBSDFW.COM) - A mayoral candidate in Carrollton has been arrested and charged with voter fraud.
The Denton County Sheriff's Office has Zul Mirza Mohamed in custody and charged him with 109 felonies related to voter fraud.
The investigation began September 23 when the sheriff's office was notified by the Denton County Elections Office of possible fraudulent activity related to absentee ballot applications.
Officials say absentee ballots had been requested to be sent to a P.O. Box in Lewisville, that was supposed to belong to a nursing home facility. When investigators made contact with the Carrollton residents whose ballots had been requested they learned that none of the residents had asked for ballots be mailed to the PO Box.
Further investigation revealed the PO Box had been obtained with a fictitious Texas driver license and a fictitious University of North Texas student ID.
To find out who was behind the scheme, officials began a surveillance of the postal facility.
A box of the requested ballots was picked up at the location on October 7. Investigators followed the person, later identified as Mohamed, back to a home in the 1600 block of Bennington Drive in Carrollton and contacted a judge to get a search warrant for the house.
Once inside, deputies found the box containing the requested ballots, with several of them open. The fraudulent driver license used to rent the P.O. Box was also located during the search.
Sheriff Tracy Murphree said, "The fact an actual candidate for public office would engage in these activities is appalling."
Mohamed, who is currently a candidate for mayor in the city of Carrollton, was arrested and taken to the Denton County Jail. He has been charged with 25 counts of Unlawful Possession of Ballot/Ballot Envelope w/o Request of Voter, and 84 counts of Fraudulent Use of Mail Ballot Application.
"The fact that we caught it this time, doesn't mean it hasn't happened in elections past. I'm sure it has. Just people are paying more attention. I think election officials are paying more attention. I think they're keeping a closer eye on it. I personally believe voting by mail is a dangerous thing," Murphree said.
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