Rachel Dolezal could go to jail for 15 years for welfare fraud and perjury

Washington state began investigating Dolezal when an official learned she’d written a book about her experiences.
May 25, 2018, 11:45am

Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who masqueraded as a black woman and led a Washington state NAACP chapter, is now accused of welfare fraud.

Dolezal illegally received thousands of dollars in public assistance between 2015 and 2017, according to court documents obtained by Spokane news station KHQ-TV. The 40-year-old mother of two received about $9,000 in food assistance money and about $100 in child care costs. She has been charged with welfare fraud, perjury, and false verification for public assistance.


Dolezal, whose legal name is now Nkechi Diallo, reported that her income was lower than $500 a month. But that wasn’t true. Her memoir documenting her outing as a white woman, “In Full Color,” as well as speaking engagements and other income factors went unreported to the Department of Social and Health Services.

She deposited about $84,000 into her bank account between August 2015 and September 2017. Washington began investigating Dolezal when an official learned that she’d written a book about her experiences. Dolezal did report a “one-time job” that made her in the area of $20,000 in 2017, however.

Dolezal was born a white woman to white parents but says she identifies as black and posed as a biologically black woman for years. In 2015, she infamously fled from a journalist who asked her on camera if she was actually an African-American woman.

The charges carry potential penalties of up to 15 years in jail.

Cover: Rachel Dolezal poses with her son, Langston, at the bureau of The Associated Press in Spokane. Dolezal, a former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was outed as a white woman pretending to be black, has been charged with welfare fraud, news station KHQ-TV reported Thursday, May 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios, File)