Rachel Dolezal Faces 15 Years Of Prison Over Welfare Fraud
Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP chapter leader whose career took a turn after she was exposed for posing as a black woman, has been accused of welfare fraud, the Associated Press reported Thursday (May 24).
Dolezal, a resident of Spokane, Wash., is charged with first degree theft by welfare fraud, perjury in the second degree, and false verification for public assistance. She is expected to face arraignment on June 6.
Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi A. Diallo in 2016 and was the subject of a Netflix documentary The Rachel Divide (though she wasn’t paid, according to Netflix), had been under investigation since March 2017. According to court documents reported by Washington state news outlet KXLY, a subpoena was issued to obtain Dolezal’s financial records, including bank statements, dating back three years.
A fraud investigator from the Washington State Department of Health Services (DCHS) reportedly found that Dolezal deposited close to $84,000 in her bank account between 2015 and 2017, which she failed to report to state officials.
The investigation into her finances revealed that Dolezal only reported around $300 in monthly income, despite receiving an advance for her memoir In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World, which could have netted her anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.
The mother of three is said to have illegally received $8,747 in food stamps, and around $100 to help cover daycare costs.
However, Dolezal did report that she made $20,000 for a one-time job, per the AP. She also denied fraud accusations when interviewed by investigators, and maintained that she “fully disclosed” her earnings.
If convicted, Dolezal faces a maximum of fifteen years in prison.