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. Jerry

    She now knows the consequences of her deceptions.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • BlueDogMS

      So went is it your turn?

      October 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • grammar and spelling police

      @ BlueDogMS:


      October 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 47percent

    Oboma lost another vote.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • hurricane

      I always thought the rich and liars voted for Romney?

      October 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisatherese

      Wow, aren't you SO clever?

      October 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      by looking at many REPUBLICAN voters and States (like Mississippi, the poorest state of the Union) I think that Romney lost a voter, not Obama... moron

      October 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ericgoestoholland

      Someone died. Turn it into a political issue.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      She never would have voted anyway.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Duane

    Guess money didn't buy her happiness

    October 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GAW

    For many winning the lottery has its costs. For this woman it was her life.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobsomeguy

      Anyone that is miserable after winning the lottery is doing it wrong.

      Guide to winning the lottery:

      1. Rent a place a little nicer than you had in a nicer neighborhood for the shortest possible lease. Tell everyone you are moving there, make sure everyone has your cell phone number. Get as many people as possible to help you move. As soon as you are alone, on to step 2.

      2. Leave your cell phone at the rental place, never go there again. Move, tell no one where you are, get a new cell phone and only give the number to those you think are your very closest family members and friends, but don't even tell them where you live.

      3. Give things at least a year to calm down and after that, you will know who you can trust.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    It's amazing how everything keeps going back to Obama, Mr. 47 percent. Please spell "Obama" right before you try and crack jokes......Knucklehead.....

    October 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bresson

    Well to be fair... she did pay almost a half a million in taxes in one big chunk... RIP, she was obviously a troubled soul.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • T-Bone

      then proceeded to steal it back in the form of Obama Welfare payments.
      Class Act.

      October 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin

    Greed caused this woman to lose her life.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • BlueDogMS

      Right, she died of cash asphyxiation.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • TinKnight

      Kevin, actually it was more likely depression that cost her her life.
      If you read into the actual story, you can see the troubles and issues that she was having after winning...coming from her life beforehand, all the people she knew were also struggling and begging her to lift them up.

      And, of course, she was villainized for taking an extra $5,500 (which she repaid in full) and called every horrific name imaginable, by people such as yourself. I'm not saying she was right...but, really, a little perspective would be nice.

      October 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rosie

    So poor people can't play the lottery now? Who do you nitwits think pays for the prizes in the first place?

    October 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • SometimesYes

      You might be reading it backwards; it's saying lottery winners are not poor people.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Isis

    Sorry to here this, my heart goes out to all her true friends. I'm sure you know who you are .....love Isis

    October 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Phillip

    If she dies, she dies.
    -Ivan Drago

    October 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waylon

      If he dies, he dies.

      October 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PeterD

    Well One Less for Obama.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • UncleM

      romney supporters – nice people voting for a nice guy. Not!

      October 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BlueDogMS

    You shouldn't talk about your mama like that.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The long count

    Money doesn't always cure life's problems and can accelerate you losing your life. Lots of stories of lottery winners with the same tragic fate across the web.

    October 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobsomeguy

      If you are miserable after winning the lottery, you are doing something wrong.

      Money isn't everything by a long stretch, but not having enough is a LOT more stressful than having too much, again, unless you are doing it wrong.

      October 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LittleBearFN

    Addiction is truly a sickness. RIP...

    October 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brian

    Money = corruption

    October 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yamadog

      I know what killed her. Her heart stopped.

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