The Easterner

Former EWU professor Rachel Dolezal charged with welfare fraud

By Kaitlyn Engen, Reporter

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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.

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About the Writer
Kaitlyn Engen, News/Opinion Editor

Kaitlyn Engen is The Easterner’s News & Opinion Editor. Engen, a senior studying journalism, is interested in both investigative and storytelling journalism, and hopes to combine the two in her writing career. She also thinks the best thing since sliced bread is two sliced tortillas with cheese in between (so, in other words, a quesadilla).

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1 Comment

One Response to “Former EWU professor Rachel Dolezal charged with welfare fraud”

  1. Stacee on June 1st, 2018 2:18 pm

    Hasn’t this woman been through enough? She has children to think about, and none of you even know what it’s like to fight for your right to live in the world we have now. Where someone can’t even walk down the street without photos taken of you and articles written about you with false statements. It’s difficult, yet now people had to go and falsely report things to her welfare office so she can’t even feed her kids now? And what the hell is the welfare office doing charging her if it’s her first confirmed offence? Like seriously… here in Canada you get 3 warnings and then get kicked off without prosecution. Smdh you Americans man, take care of your people stop trying to starve everyone over feelings hurt. This new “I’m offended” movement is ridiculous and starting to really effect peoples lives. Triggered by how someone identifies? Really??? Wow… there are worse things going on in the world, quit focusing on petty bull crap and leave this woman alone! 💔 is this seriously what our world is coming to? 😡

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Former EWU professor Rachel Dolezal charged with welfare fraud