$1 Million Michigan Lottery Winner Also Wins Welfare Fraud Charges for Remaining on Food Stamps
Money may not buy happiness, but it just might buy you a whole heap of trouble.
One Michigan lotto winner discovered that firsthand after she was arraigned on two felony counts of welfare fraud.
Amanda Clayton, 25, of Lincoln Park, won the state’s million dollar jackpot on a local game called ‘Make Me Rich!’ where she took home a lump sum of $735,000 after taxes. At the time, however, she was also receiving assistance from the state’s welfare office and failed to notify the office of her winnings.
In fact, she was still receiving food stamps from the state’s Department of Human Services, even though she had a huge wad of cash sitting in her bank account. She even told a TV station in Detroit that she thought she was still eligible to receive them since she was unemployed at the time of her winnings.
It turns out that Michigan has forbidden anyone with more than $5,000 in regular income and assets, excluding a car, from receiving state assistance.
In fact, Clayton’s case isn’t the first of its kind. Back in 2010, Leroy Fick, 60, of Bay County won $850,000 in the lottery but was still receiving food stamps after he cashed in his very large check. However, he was allowed to stay on the food assistance program since lump-sum winnings did not count as income under state laws.
The laws have since been changed, something that Clayton learned the hard way. Her attorney, Stanley Wise, said he has plans to have her charges dismissed at her next court hearing.