Former Spokane NAACP Leader Arraigned Wednesday on Fraud Charges
Wednesday morning, the former leader of the NAACP in Spokane was formally arraigned on fraud charges. As more details of the investigation are released, authorities say it appears her actions were likely intentional.
Rachel Dolezar, who has now legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo, appeared in Spokane County Superior Court. She is facing a count of First Degree Theft by Welfare Fraud.
In 2015, Dolezal was pressured to resign as the NAACP leader when it was discovered she was a white person, grew up as such, and only 'identified' as a black person. Association officials demanded she resign. After losing her EWU teaching position over the misrepresentation, she enrolled in public assistance to help her financial situation.
However, it was learned during routine income verifications Dolezal failed to report to DSHS that she'd earned nearly $84,000 in sales from a book she'd written about her experiences as well as speaking engagements during this period. This is in direct violation of public assistance laws.
Court documents show she claimed her only income was $300 from friends, a gift. However, investigators now know she was granted a business license and was using the names Living Spectrum Studios, Royal Soaps, Shine On and others. Investigators believe she used these names and the license to help merchandise her book and obtain speaking engagements, as well as gain income. She also utilized these names to sell other items such as soaps, hand made dolls and more.
She failed to report any of these activities to DSHS officials. No information was released on what, if any, jail time or other penalties she could face if found guilty.