Rachel Dolezal, who posed as black, charged with welfare fraud

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Media caption“The idea of race is a lie” – Rachel Dolezal speaks to Emily Maitlis

A US white woman who posed as an African American for years faces charges of welfare fraud, authorities say.

Rachel Dolezal, who changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, illegally received $8,847 (£6,600) in public assistance funds, court documents say.

Ms Dolezal claimed her income was less than $500, but deposited $84,000 in her bank account without reporting it.

She may serve a maximum of 15 years in prison and be made to repay the funds.

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Rachel Dolezal/Facebook

Image caption

Ms Dolezal had served as a civil rights activist for the NAACP in Spokane before she was outed as white

The case began when an investigator from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services learned Ms Dolezal had published a memoir, In Full Color.

The investigation discovered Ms Dolezal would probably have received “payments of $10,000 to $20,000 as advances against later royalties”, according to documents.

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Ms Dolezal had been reporting her monthly income as less than $500, claiming food and childcare assistance funds as a result.

In 2015, Ms Dolezal quit her post at the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) amid outrage that she had pretended to be African American.

Since then, she claimed, she had been unable to find work, according to the Spokesman-Review.

Documents show Ms Dolezal said she was “barely” getting by, “with help from friends and gifts”.

Investigators discovered that between August 2015 and September 2017, she deposited around $84,000 into her bank account, but only reported $20,000 for a “one-time job” for “speaking and voice overs” in October 2017.

Officials say when Ms Dolezal was interviewed by investigators last month, she said she had “fully disclosed her information and asked what discrepancies” were there, according to the Washington Post.

When faced with the numbers, she reportedly told authorities “she did not have to answer”.

Ms Dolezal first made headlines in 2015 when her parents outed her as white.

The former civil rights activist and African studies instructor had kept up the pretence of being African American for years before she finally admitted she was “Caucasian biologically” amid national scrutiny.

Ms Dolezal has said she sees herself as “trans-black” and that “the idea of race is a lie”.

She is due to appear in court on 6 June, the Review reported.

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