Woman Formerly Known as Rachel Dolezal Has Responded to Welfare Fraud Charges Against Her

Rachel Dolezal, who now goes by Nkechi Diallo, pleaded not guilty to welfare fraud charges against her in Washington state. The name may have changed, but Diallo is remembered as the former NAACP leader who presented herself as black but was actually white.

Diallo’s story went viral when her parents went to reporters and said their black activist daughter was actually white.

According to the Associated Press, Diallo remains free until her trial on Sept, 10. Over the course of the investigation, a subpoena allegedly revealed that Diallo deposited nearly $84,000 into an account without reporting most of it. She allegedly improperly received $8,800 in public assistance.

You may recall that, as Rachel Dolezal, she said “Actually, I don’t like the term African-American; I prefer black. So, if asked, I would say, yes, I consider myself to be black.”

The statement resulted in a media tour. That eventually subsided, but Diallo’s legal trouble brought her back into the spotlight.

Court documents have shown that Diallo was charged for falsely reporting her income when applying for food assistance benefits. She allegedly failed to disclose money that she earned from her book, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World,” as well as from speaking engagements and selling soaps, art, and dolls. She also allegedly collected unemployment benefits, which she initially did not report. As a result, she allegedly collected an overpayment of Food and Childcare Assistance in the amount of $8,847.00.

The forms Diallo filled out to apply for benefits indicated the consequence should she lie in her application.

Diallo is now facing charges of first degree theft by welfare fraud, perjury in the second degree, and false verification for public assistance. She faces up to 15 years behind bars, plus payment of $8,847.00 in restitution.

The story was first reported by Spokane’s KHQ, who went to Diallo’s home for comment. She refused to let the reporter inside and did not provide any comment. When she spoke to police prior to being charged, Diallo insisted that she did fully disclose her income.

Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

[Image via TODAY/YouTube screengrab]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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