Rachel Dolezal, who has made news in Idaho and Washington for claiming to be black, has been charged with welfare fraud.
Spokane news station KHQ-TV reports Dolezal was charged with theft by welfare fraud, perjury and false verification for public assistance. The station looked at court documents which say she illegally received $8,747 in food assistance and $100 in childcare between 2015 and 2017.
A Washington State investigator found that Dolezal was reporting an income of less than $500 a month, mainly from child support, to the Department of Social and Health Services. But authorities said bank records showed she had put more than $80,000 in her account and that the money came from writing her memoir “In Full Color,” speaking engagements and the sale of her art.
Washington State has filed charges against Dolezal, who has changed her name to Nkechi Diallo. She could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Authorities also have asked that she be disqualified from getting food assistance for at least 12 months.
Dolezal is the former education director at Coeur d’Alene’s Human Rights Education Institute, who made headlines three years ago when media reports suggested that she falsely portrayed herself as black. Her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, has said her daughter is white but has portrayed herself as black.
Rachel Dolezal later stepped down as head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP citing the controversy over her race. She says she identifies as a “transracial” black woman.
In April, Netflix released a documentary that followed Dolezal’s life and the backlash she received after she said she was black.
Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio
Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio