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. jackie

    its really sad some of these comments that people make.

    October 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. arosel

    Can't make a silk purse out of a sow ear.

    No amount of money can change character.

    October 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rescue1adopt

    Wow....too bad that people post hateful comments about a dead mother...I would be willing to bet not a one of the people that posted nasty comments even knew this young woman...and to think...this precious little life that she left behind will grow-up to one day read all of this hate about the mother he will never remember...so sad...I'm not gonna be a hater...i didnt know her...so im gonna be one of the ones that posts a kind word...keeping in mind what I just said...for her surviving child...no matter what she did or didn't do...she was a human being that loved her baby...I will surely keep her family...and this precious little baby in my thoughts and Prayers...its only my' opinion...but i feel like she AND the people that loved her just deserve respect!

    October 2, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Missed

    This is sad story first she wins 1million state steals half her money then charges her with a felony for being naive or stupid either way it should not be a felony, then she OD's and leaves a kid behind that the state will take along with the rest of the money to take care of it. then everyone acts like they are better than her and judges her for her decisions right or wrong, there is something very wrong with this world right now, people are so self righteous when its someone else they don't know, this country is in big trouble unless we find our humanity again.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • MsMaryE

      Well said. May she rest in peace.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • rh

      Steals her money? I thought there is such a thing as income tax.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Ultimos

      Here here. I completely agree with what you said about how this should not have been a felony. Her actions were ignorant not malicious. I mean it was food stamps, she didn't embezzle people's pension funds unlike some thieving executiv- er I mean job creators. I think she should have had to pay the money back with a significant fine, but, no criminal record. That way the state actually makes money and the person's life isn't ruined. Anyway, that's just my two cents.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Epidi

      Well, for the 99% of us it's income tax. For the 1% it's income tax (wink, wink).

      October 2, 2012 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Dick Hertz

      Find our humanity? That and political correctness is what's sinking our ship. A leech is a leech. No matter what you call it. Twenty million illegals should be proof of that.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Meself

      Yes, well said...

      October 2, 2012 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Slc

      Yes, well said. RIP Amanda

      October 2, 2012 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      It's very sad another child has to suffer the consequences of a horrible parent.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
    • meadowmuffin

      RH...The state did steel her money...there should be no taxation on windfall lottery winnings, it is not income..it is a prize..why should somebody be able to take half of your prize just because they say the can. That is the definition of a bully..This poor girl was uneducated and taken advantage of.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. jeff

    The girl was no worse than these millionaires and corporations using bought and paid for loopholes to get out of paying taxes. The difference being that she took the taxpayers for alot less than the majority of them.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • groo

      I agree with you Jeff. Here's another thing, she gave most of her winnings away to pay for people to go to college. That's more than most of the swine that run this country ever did.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. BOMBO ©

    If you make fun of her, you are making fun of your own sister, for we are all God's children. Except the Pope. He's God's little brother.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • rh

      She was a druggie who endangered her children, money or not.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. larry5

    They found out she was a Republican and they don't qualify for welfare.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Crack Ho WINS!!!

    Errr...loses.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Crack Ho WINS!!!

    Liberals support keeping black citizens enslaved via welfare.
    Liberals support giving native Americans casinos to keep them on reservations called "Indian Nations" today.
    Liberals are liberal. (duh) Acourse by the same token, republicans are tightwads as if greedy jews they support as if they were God's.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Unodostres

      Acourse, by the same token. Nitwit.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ultimos

    She should not have been charged with a felony. Her actions were ignorant not malicious. I mean it was food stamps, she didn't embezzle people's pension funds unlike some thieving executiv- er I mean job creators. I think she should have had to pay the money back with a significant fine, but, no criminal record. That way the state actually makes money and the person's life isn't ruined. Anyway, that's just my two cents.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. Fred

    None of you know what your talking about.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. MuckFohammad

    Food Stamp Fraud – check
    Overdosed with a kid on her lap – check
    Will still be voting for Obama in 2012 – check

    October 2, 2012 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. aj

    I hope her kid gets the money and not her deadbeat baby daddy

    October 2, 2012 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. DB

    Just goes to show you – you can take the girl out of the trailer, but you can't take the trailer out of the girl

    October 2, 2012 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Amber

    Ummm....let's see. Who doesn't know that when you win the lottery all your besties come out for a piece of your pie? She was ignorant (food stamps while on welfare, really?), she was obviously an unmarried tramp and she set herself up for her own mess. SHE OD'd. No one forced her onto drugs. Apparetnly, no one helped her off them either. It's a pity, but her kids will be better off. And, we don't need mindless people like her voting and reproducing again. RIP, girlie.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
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