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County commissioner candidate arrested on charges of online impersonation

NRI PULSE STAFF REPORT

Fort Bend County, Texas, June 13, 2024: Taral Patel, a 30-year-old Indian-American Democrat running for Fort Bend County Commissioner, has been arrested by Texas Rangers. He faces charges of online impersonation and misrepresentation of identity.

Patel, a candidate for Precinct 3 commissioner, was taken into custody on charges including a third-degree felony for online impersonation and a Class A misdemeanor for misrepresentation of identity.

Patel is being held on a $20,000 bond for the felony charge and a $2,500 bond for the misdemeanor.

Last September, Patel brought attention to derogatory comments on Facebook targeting him, reports India Today. These comments accused him of terrorism and communism and included disparaging remarks about Hinduism. In response, a spokesperson for Republican incumbent Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers questioned the authenticity of the comments, noting difficulties in verifying the identities of the commenters.

Although Patel did not directly name his opponent, Commissioner Andy Meyers, he highlighted the negative nature of the online posts. Among the posts was a picture of Meyers standing next to a cutout of former US President Donald Trump during a previous campaign.

Patel served as the youngest chief of staff for the Fort Bend County judge’s office under Judge KP George, another prominent Indian-American. Patel has also been involved in various political campaigns, including those of Mayor Bill White, Senator Rodney Ellis, and Wendy Davis.

Most recently, he was appointed by President Joseph R. Biden to serve in the Office of White House Liaison, where he worked on matters related to housing, urban development, and disaster recovery and resilience. During his time with the President, Patel was also a key member of the White House Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (WHAANHPI) Committee.

In addition to these roles, Patel has worked for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in the Public Integrity Section, as the Deputy Finance Director for a Governor, and as a Legislative Staff member for the Texas House of Representatives focusing on the Transportation and Government Accountability and Transparency Committees.

Born to Indian immigrants and raised in Houston, Patel attended local schools and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.

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