Former EWU professor Rachel Dolezal charged with welfare fraud

Former EWU professor Rachel Dolezal charged with welfare fraud

By Kaitlyn Engen, Reporter

Former EWU professor Rachel Dolezal, now Nkechi Amare Diallo after changing her name in 2016, was charged on May 22 with 1st degree theft by welfare fraud, perjury to the 2nd degree and false verification for public assistance, according to Spokane Superior Court documents.

Diallo’s criminal activity started soon after her dismissal from EWU. Diallo was a part-time EWU Africana Studies professor from 2010 to 2015.

She was also the president of the NAACP Spokane chapter from 2014 to 2015, and served on Spokane’s volunteer police-ombudsman commission.

Diallo lost all of her held positions in 2015 when she became nationally exposed by her parents for her false identification as a black woman. Due to the widespread backlash and controversy she received, along with harassment and misconduct allegations, she voluntarily resigned from the NAACP, was voted off the police-ombudsman commission and was fired from EWU.

Diallo continued to identify as black post-exposure. The New York Times followed up with her story in 2017, reporting her struggle to make a living and raise her two sons, ages fifteen and one.

Spokane County Superior Court records show that Diallo had first applied for welfare in July 2013, two years before her exposure. After losing her benefits from failing to submit paperwork, she reapplied in August 2015.

In March 2017, information was reported to OFA Criminal Investigator Brad Borden that Diallo had published her book, “In Full Color,” to which she had received contract payments of up to $20,000. It was later revealed by investigator Jennie Stephens that Diallo held a business license and was selling art, soaps and handmade dolls.   

None of Diallo’s self-employment was reported, stating her monthly income was $300 a month from friends and family.

Amid the suspicion, Diallo reported to the Department of Social and Health Services a “change of circumstance” saying she did a one-time job in October of 2017 worth $20,000.

As a result of her inaccurate reports, Diallo had allegedly received $8,847 in overpayment from Food and Childcare Assistance as recorded by her bank statements.

Spokane court documents stated that Diallo had been warned numerous times that her continuous false reporting could result in criminal prosecution.

Diallo is scheduled for an arraignment hearing at the Spokane County Superior Court on June 6. She is facing up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.