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. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    Max Power..what is that? Some kind of erectile dysfunction medicine?

    October 1, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Disgusted by the hateful comments

    I can not belive the nasty, disgusting, heartless trash talk on here. Those of you that left the nasty degrading comments will receive back 10 fold on yourself what your spouting. Hate only brings back hate to you. You get back what you put out. I truly hope that you are never left needing welfare, foodstamps or needing prescription drugs (that you might just abuse, its not hard to do) because this could be you....takes just one breath, one wrong move and your walking in the shoes that you just tore apart. You were obviously not raised with tolerance, compassion and love in your lives. Thats the saddest thing of all. While you all sit here comdemming this girl for her mistake (whether it was intentional or not), you could be out mentoring someone else to not make the same mistakes in their lives.

    October 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gerald

    Darwin Award, Darwin award!

    October 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandra LeVin

    @ SMFREE – but you see, YOU were the one who finally decided to make the change. You did the work of getting sober and dealing with your problems in a way that did not involve drugs/alcohol. It wouldn't have mattered if someone sat down with you to make a plan for you and your son's lives – a drug addict will do what they do no matter how much great advice they're given. Until THEY are ready to make the change, you can talk yourself blue and they will not listen.

    October 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • smfree

      Sandra, yes, I was the one who made that decision, but I gotta say that I was obviously overwhelmed and didn't know how to manage my life. A caring, compassionate person could have made a huge difference. I reach out to others in similar situations as a volunteer now, and educating these people as to how they can manage their lives better puts different thoughts in their heads. Even if they don't "hear" these suggestions now and put them into action, a seed has been planted that, yes, life CAN be better. And when someone is down and it's obvious to me, I don't hesitate to find out what that person's needs are and then act on it. From there, the person has a choice. All I was saying is that people didn't bother to ask me anything and instead just placed judgment.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. scoped

    Ruben and the other non-humane others,

    What's wrong seems to be the lack of empathy for a human life. She didn't murder anybody, as far as we know and yet so many of these postings show a total lack of empathy and compassion which in my opinion equals a narcissist. I've got to stop reading these comments.

    October 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • btech

      I'm only replying to you to say that skipping the comments at the bottom has made this website actually tolerable for me. I failed on this one – but at least I can pass along the wisdom. 🙂

      October 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    @Disgusted by the hateful comments:
    Yes. Most are disgusting. And yes. Most are hateful. And the only thing I can say to you is, it's only Monday night. Tomorrow will only get worse. So you have a choice. Partake, and put your best foot forward, and don't give in to the cussing, slams, inuendos, racist commenting. Or your other choice, which is leave. A lot of these individuals are running from the law and do not like being corrected, and your wasting your time if you think they'll listen to a lick of sense you tell them.

    October 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KeepTellingYourselfThat

    @JD, wow dude. Normally I would try and explain to you why your statement is so totally wrong, but you clearly are a brainwashed tool of the right, so I highly doubt logic would work on you. Have a nice day.
    Signed a hate-filled liberal

    October 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • take a trip on the hp

      Take a ride over to the huffington post and you will find thousands of hate spewing liberals. Hell it is funny as hell how they get their panties in a bunch and their hate filled post......much like yours.

      October 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lawless4U

    Well I hope this makes everyone who had bad things to say about her happy.

    For $200 a month you condemned her to death.

    Nice job folks.

    October 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • annebeth

      How did the $200 dollars in foodstamps condemn her to death. Why would someone who won a million dollars even WANT foodstamps? She knew that she was not eligible for them.

      October 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suk My CACK

      What! You mother phuqers are so pathetic with your comments. The dumb Mother Phuqer overdosed, or did you miss that important fact? I would love to bring back Hitler's ideology to deal with all you lazy welfare, Liberal pieces of Sh*&T!

      October 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sonny

    What is even more crazy now, is the fact that the kid will get state and federal money for the rest of her life, even though she is sitting on whatever is left from the $1m that wasn't spent on car rims and drugs.

    October 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. a fellow Christian?!

    Redistribution is hate? Haven´t we done this forever? Isn´t that called taxation?
    Doesn´t the bible call for a tenth? Is that hate as well?
    Many extremely confused people!

    October 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. a fellow Christian?!

    We, the people of Michigan, are a mess. Spoken like a true Buckeye, I guess

    October 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joel

    wow. 200 food stamps dollars and 500,000 dollars? I could live for 35 years on 500,000 dollars.

    October 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      You must live in an old bus in the woods somewhere if you could live on 500,000 for 35 years.

      October 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tax Truthers Movement

    "and after taxes, had a little more than $500,000"

    Well at least she died a Tax Paying American....unlike Mitt Robme

    October 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anne S.

    Earlier today there was an article from WXYZ out of Detroit. It said there were so many people trying to be friends so that they could get money out of her. Her brother said she had invested in her children's college funds, and other things. And she was down to $67,000 out of the million dollars she won. Probably use a lot of that money to keep herself doped up, and apparently that's what she died from a drug overdose. Now that's really blowing your money away!!!

    October 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. annebeth

    This womans' death is heartbreaking because she leaves behind a child who no longer has a mother. I just hate that with all the money she won, no one helped guide her to a drug treatment facility. If she had drug issues before the win, the influx of more money, may have created more drug problems for her.

    October 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
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