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. Debi

    unreal.............people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

    October 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuck steaks

      hoo doz a junbkie throw stones frum a glashouse?? she wat ead?!

      October 4, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tebowg

      fû©kiʼn michigan. Why don't they just become a part of canada and get it over with? Canada can keep detroit, we don't need it here in the United States of Mexico

      October 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • XxChR15xX

      yeah but what if you have a machine gun turret on your roof? you can pretty much throw all the damn stones you want right?

      October 9, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Marie

    If only all the other leeches could follow her example we may actually be able to put money where it belongs...Education etc.

    October 5, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff

    Money obviously can't fix stupid either. I didn't have any sympathy for her when she got caught and now that I know she's a junkie as well, I feel justified in the way I felt.

    October 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Frank

    How sad. Whats even more sad is her drug money came from the US Government. Welfare was originally intended to help single mothers get back on their feet after giving birth. It was never meant to be a permanent way of existence. Once Obama dropped the requirements for Welfare, including drug testing, it opened the doors to all the crack mommies to light up on the taxpayers dime. Many more will end up like this one unfortunately.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • harleyblueswoman

      It didn't say she overdosed on illegal drugs....why do you assume that? Her mother said she had been taking prescription drugs......doctors dole them out like crazy!!

      October 13, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • harleyblueswoman

      drug testing has never been required....where do you people come up with this crap?

      October 13, 2012 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
    • El Flaco

      Obama didn't change the requirements.

      Nothing you wrote is true.

      October 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      don't let facts get in the way of a good anti-liberal rant

      October 16, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • SeniorMoment

      Without a toxicology report in a case with no obvious cause of death, it is impossible to know if this woman died of an overdose. Remember some baseball related deaths have come from just being hit in the chest during the a critical fraction of second of a heart beat. People are only assuming she died of an overdose because of the assumed dishonesty in continuing to receive welfware benefits, but some type of benefits are on behalf of the child or children in the family through disability, so even assuming she was dishonest without more facts is a mistake. It all depends on the type of benefit she was receiving. When a child is considered a household of one they themselves don't ordinarily have any other income to live off besides their disability or survivor's benefit. Making assumptions is about the worst non-lying offense a news reporter can make..

      October 17, 2012 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Aimee Ramadan

      Did you even read the article?? She had to pay back the food stamp and medical benefits she received. How does a young girl's death turn into a political forum?

      October 18, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Are you seriously blaming this on Obama.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Sylar75

      Yeah but I heard that Romney sold her the drugs and Bush was the mule for the drugs. I heard that so it must be true, seriously.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Headquarters

      Go ahead and blame the President for everything and everybody action.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • ray

      You're an idiot.

      October 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SeniorMoment

    Having relooked at the article, it does say the women was receiving food assistance, which ordinarily means food stamps. The state may have errored in discontinuing her benefit if the food aid was Food Stamps, because food stamp benefits are determined each month by that month's income, so she rightfully should have lost only one month of benefits unless hher earnings on the $500,000 exceeded the monthly income limit that excludes people from Food Stamps.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sheila

    If someone was your friend when you were broke, sick, depressed, needed a ride to your colonoscopy, needed help cleaning your house, etc., then they are your friend after you win the lottery. And when you win, they are the ones that won't ask for any of it. It's not that hard to tell.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rusthammer

    Considering she paid in a little under $500,000 in taxes when she won the lottery, i'm not very concerned that she collected $200 in food stamps for a few months. (Even though she did pay it back after the state got after her)

    Consider how much money was spent by the state using tax payer money to pass all of this 'Lottery' legislation though...

    October 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmm

      Good point...

      October 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kanageloa

    If she had earned the money maybe her life would have been better?

    October 20, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Headquarters

    John 8:1 "He that is without sin among you let him cast the first stone.

    October 23, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. shadowmatrix

    "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.

    You mean like winning a half mill and still take money from the State every month in food stamps? Ah, the smell of irony in the morning.

    October 25, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. barfight

    Sad story. Where was her family? Shouldnt mom or dad have stepped in? What has happened to the American family?

    October 26, 2012 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. 2012marandalaw


    October 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Freedom

    First i want to point out that the toxicology report isn't back, so they do not know the cause of death. So, the report should be left at unknown cause of death. Secondly, there are just as many rich people as poor people who have addictions. The difference is that they can seek treatment, afford attorneys, etc. Criminal policies are made for the rich while they hurt the poor. For example; crack is a poor person's drug because it is cheaper and the penalties are stiffer. Whereas, cocaine is more expensive and just as bad but wealthier people typically abuse it so penalties are lower. Take a class on Criminology and you will learn that the rich are the ones typically making laws, but also at the same time more unscrupulous. Not all wealthy though, statistically speaking.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Leroy

    Amanda Clayton should've been shacking up with me. I would've taken good care of her.

    October 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. maria

    I always said":God give bread to the ones without teeth"how true.this woman was a liar ,using and abusing the system ,won lottery and used the money to buy drugs ! ahhhhhh!

    October 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
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