Lottery winner on welfare: Michigan woman now faces fraud charges

Do you remember the case of Amanda Clayton? She’s the Michigan woman who made headlines last month when it was revealed that she’d won $1 million in the state lottery -- and kept collecting welfare.

Well, that alleged double-dipping has cost her: Clayton was arrested Monday on fraud charges and spent the night in the slammer before being arraigned Tuesday morning. She pleaded not guilty to charges that she improperly collected more than $5,475 in food stamps and public medical benefits over an eight-month period, according to the Associated Press.

Michigan taxpayers were particularly outraged because of Clayton’s seeming sense of entitlement. Detroit-area TV station Local 4 -- which broke the story -- caught up with Clayton as she was packing up her belongings from one home to move to another home. (She’d bought the new abode -- along with a new car -- using cash from her lottery winnings.)

Clayton explained to the reporter that she deserved the public assistance. After all, she was a single mom without a job: “I feel that it’s OK because, I mean, I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.”


Famous last words.

Public outrage led to the welfare-fraud investigation that led to Clayton’s arrest. That outrage also fueled the passage of a bill that triggers an alert to the state’s Department of Human Services, which oversees public assistance, whenever a state resident wins more than $1,000 in the state lottery.

Clayton won $1 million on the state’s “Make Me Rich!” television show. She chose to take a lump sum upfront, which amounted to $735,000 before taxes.

Clayton’s defense attorney, Stanley Wise, told Local 4 that he planned to fight the charges.


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