Michigan woman charged with collecting welfare after $1 million lottery win found dead
Amanda Clayton, 25, died of a possible drug overdose at an Ecorse, Michigan, home, police say.
October 1st, 2012
01:54 PM ET

Michigan woman charged with collecting welfare after $1 million lottery win found dead

A woman who continued receiving public assistance after winning hundreds of thousands of dollars in a Michigan lottery game was found dead in a Detroit suburb this weekend.

Amanda Clayton, 25, was sleeping with her 18-month-old daughter at a home in Ecorse when, according to police, she died of a possible drug overdose.

The baby "was right next to her sleeping.  They were watching a movie together. She started crying, and that’s when Rachel walked in and she tried to see what was going on and she flipped (Clayton) and she was gone,” a friend's boyfriend told CNN affiliate WXYZ-TV, asking that he not be identified.

The WXYZ story did not further identify Rachel, but the station reported that a friend and her boyfriend had been babysitting Clayton's daughter and son.

An autopsy has been completed, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, and no definite cause of death can be determined until a toxicology report comes back in six to eight weeks, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Clayton won $1 million in the "Make Me Rich" lottery game show in October. She took a lump sum, and after taxes, had a little more than $500,000 with which she bought a house and car. She also continued to collect $200 a month in state food assistance until the state learned of the lottery win and pulled her benefits in March.

Asked by CNN affiliate WDIV-TV if she felt she was entitled to the money, she replied, "I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't, I thought maybe it was OK because I'm not working."

After the state Department of Human Services and Office of Inspector General looked into the matter, the Lincoln Park woman was charged with two felony counts of welfare fraud.

Michigan law requires that public aid recipients report any changes to their assets within 10 days, but the state inquiry revealed that Clayton collected $5,475 in food and medical benefits for which she should have been ineligible.

Clayton pleaded no contest to the charges and was placed on probation in July, The Detroit News reported, adding that her attorney said she had paid back the inappropriate benefits. The case prompted state legislation barring lottery winners from receiving government benefits.

The friend's boyfriend who spoke to WXYZ said Clayton had been in "a bad stage" lately and had been tormented in the aftermath of her lottery win.

"So many people tried to take advantage of her, act like they are her friends just to get some money from her. It gets to the point where you start questioning yourself: Are they really my friends or are they using me?” he said.

A neighbor who had known Clayton for at least 17 years described her to The Detroit News as "a nice, pleasant girl who never got in trouble, until she won the lottery."

Sheryl Schonfeld also told the newspaper that Clayton had been going through a custody battle over her son, had recently moved to escape her boyfriend's pestering and that Clayton's mother recently said Amanda had been taking prescription drugs.

In August, the paper reported, two men and two women were arraigned after Clayton and a neighbor were involved in a dispute over yard clippings. Clayton had cut her grass and left the clippings in the driveway of neighbor Victor Bartola, who swept them back into her yard, The Detroit News said.

The two argued, and a friend of Clayton's left and returned with three other people, according to the paper. A fight broke out involving a knife, bat and airsoft gun, and Bartola was hospitalized and released, the paper reported.

Clayton's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Allen Park.

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Filed under: Crime • Michigan • U.S.
soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. James Bond

    Careful what you ask for.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Phoney Friends

    Ain't that the human race! When ya got the bucks, ya got a million "friends." 1 or 2 might be left when by chance
    you lose it all. The smartest lottery winners make minimal changes to their basic social circles and routines or
    change ever so gradually. I know- easy for me to talk. I'd probably be smothered to death by a bevy of beautiful chicks in some penthouse. Could be a nice way to go.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NoHarmDone

    SEE the high priestess objectivistaaa statue in New York > observe the BIG long object loved by the priestesses.
    SEE the steroids? and the how the entire world is on their steroid shoulders? A heavy weight indeed. My
    wife left with my pickup truck without a single world, my dog got sick, reason? Simple- Iran.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CDFISH

    Money isn't the problem here...the girl was a degenerate before she won and some money made it more evident after. Sorry she died but why is this on CNN. STUPID

    October 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duh!

      Idk maybe because it's news????

      October 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 2/8

    Typical insensitive Americans, always throwing your 1 cent in when it's probably in the best interest of humanity for you to keep it to yourself. My half-cent for this ridiculous thread.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ajay

    Oh man, some of these comments are hilarious. Someone referred to the departed as Olive oyl from Popeye.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • mocomment

      A yuk-yuk-yuk-yuk-yuk. Now that you mention it... Scuse me, time for my spinach.

      October 1, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cherries

    She won a million, but after taxes she only took home $500k? I'd say she paid her fair share and then some! Paying 50% taxes is not fair at all. My sympathies to her little girl.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      She didn't pay $500k in taxes. She took a lump sum vs. annuity, which means that her winnings were actually substantially smaller than $1m (probably closer to $800k-$850k). Taxes were taken from that lump sum figure.

      October 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ajay

    In any case, this is very sad news. I hope she had the sense to put some funds aside for her kids. After walking away with almost half a mill, about 100K should be put away for the kids.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mr. Bean

    @ PeterD

    Says a Republican tool...

    October 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nancy

    My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. Feel sorry for her children.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • What

      We are all so impressed by your publicly spoken sympathies. Fifty bucks says you never think of this again 10 seconds after you typed that.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Hi What,

      Actually I did think about her for quite some time after posting that, thank you very much. You know what I'm really thinking about? Fisting you.....

      October 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stinkfist

      Relax, turn around and take my hand.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DJ

    A sad ending, which goes to show you, new found wealth does not translate into happiness. Too bad she appearantly she didn't find peace with Christ before she obtained wealth, it would cergainly made a differnce for her.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      You haven't found spelling or grammar. I'm at a lost for your tasteless reference to Christ.

      October 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheProblem

    If born into a wealthy American family? No problem- business as usual- its like military benefits or stock options.
    It is simply not so easy to be wealthy like those who do it best. A big attorney and wala ! – time to make movies and books.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. thundercat22

    Like the gospel song said what a friend you have in Jesus? He's a real friend not like human friends.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      And your point is what?

      October 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bender

      I'm not a human friend either.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    If only she was drug tested while she was receiving those Food Stamps... she could be in rehab now. Dee Da Dee at it's best.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Doc

    How about a ban on welfare recipients gambling away my tax dollars.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • mocomment

      Agreed. They never have enough money for food but I always get stuck in back of them at the convenience store buying $30/.$50 of lottery tickets. Makes me want to puke on their lottery tickets, try to turn them in then you freeloaders.

      October 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      They support govt by buying lottery ticket not like you cheap fellow

      October 3, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
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