Miss USA Nia Sanchez Under Fire For Switching States Before Competition

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Did Miss USA Nia Sanchez switch states to increase her odds of winning the crown? 

A "well-placed" source claims that Sanchez, 24, faked her residency in Nevada in order to avoid tougher competition in her native California. "She never actually moved to Nevada, but continued to work at Disney and live in California, setting up some minimum paper trail to appear like she was in Nevada and allow her to compete," the source said. 

There could be some truth to the rumors, especially since Sanchez competed for the Miss California USA crown three times -- in 2010, 2011 and 2012. She never won a title until she entered the Nevada pageant in 2014.

Sanchez denies the rumors, and says she lived in Nevada for six months before entering the competition.

"[Las Vegas] is my home," Sanchez told FOX411 on Thursday. "I have a house there with a friend."

The model continued: "I actually had an agent that was working me in Nevada a lot, so I figured why not work in that state, and then I looked into the pageant program because I had done pageants before. So, I figured, why not look into the one in Nevada? I really liked the way that it was run, the director that ran it, it seemed like a really healthy, well-run state program. So, I decided to go there, since I was living there anyway."

Miss USA Nevada officials require two documents proving that you have resided in the state for at least six months prior to the pageant. On her Miss USA application, Sanchez stated that she was a model with the AC Model Agency -- which operates in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles. She listed her base as Los Angeles, because that's where the "big money" commercial jobs exist. Before that, she listed her workplace as Disneyland in Anaheim, California. 

"You shouldn't be able to live in a different state and compete in a different state," Sanchez told Fox News. "That doesn't seem fair to me. But that's why there's the six-month residency rule, and you have to work or go to school in that state -- which I did." 

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Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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