Paul Tyus turns himself into authorities after he is charged with falsifying election petition.
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
An Erath County man planning to run for sheriff has turned himself into authorities; accused of forging dozens of signatures on a petition to get his name on the November ballot
Fifty-year-old Paul Tyus has been charged with fraudulent use of identifying information, a first degree felony, and tampering with a government document, a state jail felony.
He arrived at the Erath County Jail with his attorney Heath Allen on Friday morning, and was quickly released after posting a $25,000 bond.
District Attorney Alan Nash told Beneath the Surface News that the investigation began after he was contacted by Erath County Tax Assessor Jennifer Carey after irregularities were found on the petition, including signatures of two deceased residents.
“In addition to the two deceased persons whose names were on the petition, of the first 63 persons interviewed by Investigator Edward Gordon, 56 verified that the signatures purporting to belong to them were forgeries.”
Nash went on to say that his office will continue working to identify others who may have been involved in the scheme.
The official complaint, obtained by BTS News, outlines the allegations made against Tyus.
It states that voter registrar Lana Stevens and her staff also noticed dozens of signatures that appeared to have been written by the same person with some including incorrect birth dates.
The suspicious signatures were then compared to a digital image of the online voter registration card which includes the authentic signatures of registered voters.
“Numerous signatures on the petition appear to vary noticeably from the signatures on file,” the complaint states.
The 58-page petition includes Paul Tyus’ signature at the end of each page swearing that he witnessed every signature and verifying that the information on the petition was correct.
The complaint states that Gordon tried to reach Tyus by phone several times before finally making contact with him at Tyus’ place of employment.
Gordon explained to Tyus that he needed to come to the DA's office to talk about the inconsistencies found on the petition. Tyus told Gordon that his wife was not at home and he had to take care of his children, but agreed to meet at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 24.
On the morning the meeting was scheduled to take place, local attorney James Beam left a message on Gordon's phone saying that Tyus would not be coming.
“He further advised that he would be in contact with his client and would get back with me later that day,” the complaint reads.
That was the last communication between Nash’s office and Tyus or his attorney.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the district attorney's office at 254-965-1462.