Rachel Dolezal, the former Washington state NAACP president thrust into the spotlight after media revealed she was a white woman posing as black, is facing welfare fraud charges.
Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, could face up to 15 years in prison after authorities say she received thousands of dollars in public assistance. She’s accused of welfare fraud, perjury and false verification for public assistance, TV station KHQ reports.
Court documents obtained by KHQ show the mother who identifies as “transracial” illegally received $8,747 in food assistance and $100 in childcare assistance from August 2015 through November 2017.
In February of 2017, she talked about how she was living on food stamps in an interview with The Guardian, saying the only work she’s been offered was in reality TV and pornography. At that time, she said she was worried about becoming homeless. She has two biological sons.
The following month, she published a book, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World, causing Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to become skeptical of her income reports of less than $500 a month.
Bank records indicated she had deposited about $83,924 into her bank account in several monthly installments between August 2015 and September 2017, without reporting the income to the DSHS, according to court documents.
During a television interview in November 2015, Dolezal acknowledged being born to white parents, but also said she identifies as black. Amid the controversy of her racial identity she stepped down as president of the Spokane, Wash., branch of the NAACP.
The former civil rights activist and African studies teacher changed her name to help with job searches but continues to use Dolezal for her public persona.
Last month, Netflix premiered a documentary about her life titled The Rachel Divide.