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Lottery winner who kept cashing welfare checks charged with fraud

Michigan LotteryMichigan Lottery: Lottery winner who kept cashing welfare checks charged with fraud

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. — A Michigan lottery winner was charged with fraud Tuesday for collecting food stamps and public health insurance despite pocketing a $735,000 jackpot.

Amanda Clayton, 25, was silent during a brief court hearing after spending a night in jail. A not-guilty plea was entered, and her lawyer vowed to fight the charges.

Clayton is the second person in Michigan caught with food stamps despite newly minted wealth. Gov. Rick Snyder last week signed a law requiring the lottery to notify the Human Services Department when someone wins at least $1,000.

Clayton is charged with failing to inform the state that her income had changed as a result of the lottery prize and a job. She won a $1 million jackpot on the game show "Make Me Rich!" and chose a $735,000 lump sum, before taxes, last September.

"It's simply common sense that million-dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance," said Attorney General Bill Schuette, whose office filed the charges. The maximum penalty is four years in prison.

Clayton, the mother of a 1-year-old, is accused of collecting $5,475 in food stamps and public medical benefits over eight months until Detroit TV station WDIV broke the story in March. She told WDIV that she believed she could collect food aid because she didn't have a job at the time.

The amount of money is a speck compared with the roughly $250 million that Michigan spends each month just on food assistance. Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout declined to comment on why the attorney general chose felony charges over a civil lawsuit or why Clayton was arrested and locked up overnight for a non-violent crime.

Outside the court in suburban Detroit, defense attorney Stanley Wise said he would ask that charges be dropped at the next hearing, May 1, when a judge must decide whether there's enough evidence to send the case to trial. He didn't elaborate on his strategy.

"They want to make an example of her," Wise later told The Associated Press, referring to state officials. "She's offered to repay the money. They haven't even sent her a bill. If that were the only issue, it would be over and done. They have chosen to exploit this for their purposes, and we have to deal with it."

Clayton declined to comment after posting $1,000 bail. Wise advised her not to speak to reporters.

Euline Clayton told reporters that her daughter used bad judgment but that a criminal case is "crap." She said Amanda called the Human Services Department about her lottery winnings but could never reach anyone.

The charges "are very extreme. ... They arrested her like a vulture," the elder Clayton said. "She didn't steal $1 million."

Clayton wasn't the first Michigan lottery winner to keep claiming public benefits. Leroy Fick, 60, of Bay County was using the food program despite winning an $850,000 lump sum prize in 2010. He told officials about his wealth but was allowed to temporarily keep his card because one-time windfalls at that time were not counted as regular income under the program.

The state has since banned anyone with assets of more than $5,000, excluding a car, from the food stamp program. That knocked Fick off the rolls.

Michigan Human Service Director Maura Corrigan said the new law requiring communications between the lottery and her agency "will make it easier to ensure that outrages involving instant millionaires on public assistance don't happen in the future."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

AP

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58 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by psykomo.
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dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
Oklahoma
United States
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November 12, 2009
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Posted: April 17, 2012, 7:53 pm - IP Logged

"It's simply common sense that million-dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance," said Attorney General Bill Schuette" WTG Michigan.... Thumbs Up

I Love Pink & Green 1908

    Avatar

    United States
    Member #94616
    July 24, 2010
    4735 Posts
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    Posted: April 17, 2012, 8:27 pm - IP Logged

    Heard a quote from a TV interview- "I thought they would cut me off, since they didn't I thought it was ok".... nice try... 

      time*treat's avatar - radar

      United States
      Member #13130
      March 30, 2005
      2171 Posts
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      Posted: April 17, 2012, 8:30 pm - IP Logged

      "their right to public assistance" <-- What 's wrong with this phrase, class? Roll Eyes

      In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
      Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

        Avatar
        New Member
        York, PA
        United States
        Member #121674
        January 14, 2012
        1 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 17, 2012, 8:34 pm - IP Logged

        If Dept of Human Services had been dpi
        G their job efficiently she would have never still been getting the benefit. They could not properly arrest Zimmerman but they improperly arrested this woman for something ridiculous as this

          Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
          S.E.Iowa
          United States
          Member #120504
          December 21, 2011
          534 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 17, 2012, 8:56 pm - IP Logged

          If Dept of Human Services had been dpi
          G their job efficiently she would have never still been getting the benefit. They could not properly arrest Zimmerman but they improperly arrested this woman for something ridiculous as this

          Improperly arrested her?Where are you from,planet liberal?She's a thief.

          When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

          There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

            Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
            Clarksville
            United States
            Member #487
            July 15, 2002
            17638 Posts
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            Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:03 pm - IP Logged

            Improperly arrested her?Where are you from,planet liberal?She's a thief.

            I Agree!

            If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

            You never know when you will get another hit.

              Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
              Little Rock, AR
              United States
              Member #68365
              December 19, 2008
              241 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:08 pm - IP Logged

              Improperly arrested her?Where are you from,planet liberal?She's a thief.

              The point he is trying to make is someone who shot someone in cold blood got away with it for two months without any charges being filed.

                BuyLow's avatar - palm tree.jpg
                Florida
                United States
                Member #61435
                May 22, 2008
                906 Posts
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                Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:09 pm - IP Logged

                All these comments from one "side" or another are laughable.  It REALLY shows the ignorance of the poster.......

                 

                 

                  Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                  S.E.Iowa
                  United States
                  Member #120504
                  December 21, 2011
                  534 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:20 pm - IP Logged

                  The point he is trying to make is someone who shot someone in cold blood got away with it for two months without any charges being filed.

                  Zimmerman has absolutly NOTHING to do with this story...NOTHING.

                  When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                  There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                    Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
                    Little Rock, AR
                    United States
                    Member #68365
                    December 19, 2008
                    241 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:23 pm - IP Logged

                    Zimmerman has absolutly NOTHING to do with this story...NOTHING.

                    The point is you can commit murder and walk away free, but don't steal a little bit of money or else they will lock you up for life.

                      Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                      S.E.Iowa
                      United States
                      Member #120504
                      December 21, 2011
                      534 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:27 pm - IP Logged

                      The point is you can commit murder and walk away free, but don't steal a little bit of money or else they will lock you up for life.

                      Thats the trouble with you liberals,if you can't make an intelligent comment on the story,you want to muddy the story with a bunch of nonsense that has NOTHING to do with the story.ZIMMERMAN is different story altogether!!

                      She DESERVES to be locked up.But not for life.She's a THIEF!What is it about that that you don't understand?

                      The Zimmerman story is in Florida.This story is in Michigan,there is no connection between the two storys...NONE.

                      When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                      There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                        Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
                        Little Rock, AR
                        United States
                        Member #68365
                        December 19, 2008
                        241 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:30 pm - IP Logged

                        Thats the trouble with you liberals,if you can't make an intelligent comment on the story,you want to muddy the story with a bunch of nonsense that has NOTHING to do with the story.ZIMMERMAN is different story altogether!!

                        She DESERVES to be locked up.But not for life.She's a THIEF!What is it about that that you don't understand?

                        The Zimmerman story is in Florida.This story is in Michigan,there is no connection between the two storys...NONE.

                        You the one who can't not respond to the point. If someone does not fit into you small wall you just ignore it and problem solved.

                          Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                          S.E.Iowa
                          United States
                          Member #120504
                          December 21, 2011
                          534 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:33 pm - IP Logged

                          You the one who can't not respond to the point. If someone does not fit into you small wall you just ignore it and problem solved.

                          Brick wall!

                          When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                          There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                            haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                            Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
                            United States
                            Member #112968
                            June 29, 2011
                            3850 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 17, 2012, 9:39 pm - IP Logged

                            "their right to public assistance" <-- What 's wrong with this phrase, class? Roll Eyes

                             T.T. as in, tough teacher, call on me, hand up,

                            dang....you called on the dummy,

                            yea, the answer is...get ready.....the phrase does not appear in the "bill of rights"

                            also is not found in any amendments.

                            Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.