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.

Post by:
Filed under: Crime • Michigan • U.S.
soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. andrew


    October 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeavenLeigh

      wow unbelievable, they took 500k from this lady and then made her life miserable over a measly 5 grand in benefits, so its ok for the government to rob people. This is sad i feel bad for this poor lady.

      October 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • GM1953

      No one took $500 G from this woman. She chose the lump sum payout when she won the lottery. That's half the total amount. She would have only recieved the full million if she'd taken the 20 year annuity

      October 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • nisroc00

      Not really, sad for the kid. other than that this p's me off. win a million screw everyone else over and overdose when millions of other should have got that lotto win not her.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lou

    It is really sad that CNN has headlines like this or 2 seats breaking on an American Airline plane but they are trying to bury the story about what happened to Ambassador Stevens in Libya. You have to go to the security clearance section of CNN to get news about what happened. You would think that a company like CNN would want to have a segment which was "fair and balanced" about what has happened in Libya since May. Since CNN was caught with Ambassador Stevens' diary they have run scared of this story. Wolf should be ashamed of himself. There was a time when he was reporting real news from Iraq but now we try to back page the news.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. valwayne

    This is just a sad story from start to finish. To think she won $1 million dollars only to see the Federal and State Governments take half of her winning. After watching half of her once in a 100 lifetimes winnings disappear she might have thought that $5,475 was a pretty small return for what the state took. Of course, in Obama's America she failed to realize that for one brief period she was an evil, horrible, selffish, digusting, hated 1%. A house and a car and everybody in the world trying to get a piece of what the Government left her. And then to be turned into an object of national ridicule and outright hate for continuing to take $5,475 dollars in benefits after the Government took $500,000 of her money. She clearly didn't know how to cope with it? So here is something that should have been a fantastic wonderful thing, and one of the highlights of her life leaving her in misery and likely contributing to her death. Just very sad, and to think that if Obama has his way with taxes she wouldn't even have been left with half of her winnings?

    October 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • kdd2010

      You maybe very shallow minded. Money has two faces. It can transfor the ugly to be good and it can turn the innocent to be vey ugly. Look around you celebrities using their money for good causes and remaining almost sober. Others not so good with crime drug and alcohol abuse. it all boils down to the person. Nothing to do with presidents or policies from old or now. Dont attibute everything to politics.

      October 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • KrisT

      You must not know the lottery very well. Anyone that wins any large amount of cash has the option to receive it ALL over the course of a set amount of years. If you want a large sum at once they will take out the taxes that you would have to pay over the years and give you a large lump sum of cash. That is why she only received half of it. She had to pay taxes. And I don't think paying taxes on free money is bull crap either. And I also don't feel bad that she had to pay $5,475 back either. She has more than enough money to get by as long as she spent it wisely. Her death is very sad and unfortunate but I don't feel bad that she had to pay taxes and pay the state back for the benefits she kept receiving and didn't need.

      October 3, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. max3333444555

    like it or not, we are going to go through a period of serious financial pain. it can be delayed but not avoided.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dizzyd

    It's beyond sad how many so-called 'humans' are so quick to laugh at others' misfortune. They act as if poor ppl are all lazy and don't contribute at all, even though they do all the thankless jobs that ppl sneer at. Yet where is the anger against the corporations that rip off their employees and devastate communities? It's just easier to beat up on those more vulnerable and who can't fight back. I'd say that you should be ashamed, but I'd be wasting my breath. The devil must be so proud and ready to welcome you all home to hell.

    October 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sly Sadie

    Awesome! GREAT NEWS! Karma DOES exist! LOL!

    October 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dizzyd

    Actually, I apologize. I wouldn't wish even you guys to hell, but I fear for you, as you've obviously have lost your humanity. Be careful about rejoicing over her downfall, 'cuz you could fall and be the next subject of discussion on here. I can see it now...'Mean Bloggers Found Dead at Computer, Cause of Death: Choking on Own Venom!'

    October 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tee

    This it what happens when we allow Americans to collect welfare and food stamps and not monitor what they use it for. All should be drug tested weekly before having there check issued. Mabey then thell get off there ass and and get a job, or if they can't stay clean take the kids away until they can.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Proof read or spell check ever? Twice you meant to say 'their' NOT 'there', possesive vs location. And I think you meant 'they'll', short for 'they will', not sure what 'THELL' is.

      October 5, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    Very sad, and for the child...I remember this women and the story.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Keepalowprofile

    lol. Justice has been served.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Toomuchcrazy

    Judge not..least ye be judged!! Too bad she didnt have someone positve in her corner that she could turn to. Wonder what happens with the $$??

    October 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Trish

    I have to wonder how someone has the money to play the lotto that gets gov assistance.I bet she had an i phone

    October 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lex

    I wished that was my girl cuz she would still be alive.

    October 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jason S

    It's a sad world when people are feeling sorry for this woman. She was a thug. She called her friends to beat the crap out of her neighbor. She kept collecting welfare after she won a significant amount of money, using tax payers dollars to fund her Lotto playing that should have gone to help her and her kid. Lastly she is a drug user. But according to most of the responses she is a poor defenseless woman.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave


      October 3, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. ronvan

    While sad that she was found dead, and statements that "common sense" should have told her to stop the checks, we are now hearing about 2K + MILLIONAIRS who ARE NOW collecting unemployment checks!!! Where was their common sense? Are they exceptions because they are rich? They should be required, immediately, to repay ALL monies they received for unemployment!! What a joke,

    October 3, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13