Woman Who Lied About African-American Heritage Charged With Welfare Fraud

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
May 25, 2018US News
Woman Who Lied About African-American Heritage Charged With Welfare Fraud
(Screenshot/Wochit Media)

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A woman who lied about being black has been charged with welfare fraud.

Rachel Dolezal, the former leader of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, has been accused of first-degree theft by welfare fraud as well as two related charges.

According to documents obtained by KHQ, Dolezal, who changed her name to Nkechi Diallo, illegally received $8,747 in food assistance.

The investigation into the alleged welfare fraud began when a federal official received information that Diallo, 40, had written a book that got published. When he referenced Diallo’s records, the investigator found that Diallo claimed she usually made less than $500 per month and was “barely” paying her bills, with a lot of help from friends.

The investigator obtained a subpoena for Diallo’s self-employed records, which showed that she had deposited about $84,000 into her bank account and reported none of it to the Department of Social and Health Services.

The money had come from her book as well as speaking engagements and other activities, such as the sale of some artwork she created.

Diallo, during the course of the investigation, told the department that she did a one-time job worth $20,000. When an investigator asked her about possible discrepancies in her income reporting, though, she asked, “What discrepancies?” She said she’d fully disclosed her income and then declined to answer any other questions.

The state of Washington is seeking the money Diallo received in food stamps back as well as Diallo being disqualified from receiving food assistance for at least 12 months.

Diallo, or Dolezal, became infamous after her parents revealed in 2015 she was not black. Dolezal was the leader of a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at the time.

However in 2017, Dolezal told The Associated Press that she still identifies as black despite being “Caucasian biologically.”

“People didn’t seem able to consider that maybe both were true,” she said. “OK, I was born to white parents, but maybe I had an authentic black identity.”

“I was presented as a con and a fraud and a liar,” Dolezal added. “I think some of the treatment was pretty cruel.”


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