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. Al

    See welfare people can use our money to get cigarettes, booze, lap dance, drugs, lotto tickets. And even after winning 1 MILLION dollars she kept collecting welfare, I'm sure that she only forgot to cancel it, "rolling eyes". Now her child has no mommy, but after being down and becoming a millionaire she was to dumb to get off and start enjoying life. But at least she will not be on the tax payers back ever again for she would have smoked or snorted that million up on in no time.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • roadhouse812

      No, but her child will be....

      October 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      You sound like an ignorant republican. First of all she was never a millionaire. Secondly you dont know she died of an overdose as the results have not come back yet. Third you're just a dumb republican.

      October 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. a fellow Christian?!

    Listen to this venom, this dehumanizing language in these comments. Most of the people who post here consider themselves Christians, I guess. What kind of people are you? And then compare these comments to the comments about the leukemia of the Colts´ coach. All Christian, whole-heated rhetoric. What an amazing and sad contrast.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Assuming all the people posting here are Christians is quite the assumption, isn't? How do you figure you know what my religions is?

      As far as the article is concerned, one safe assumption you CAN make is this woman will never again rip off the state of Michigan.

      October 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DrJekyll

      I have read most of the post and I do not see anywhere that most consider themselves christians. How did you come to that conclusion? Are you convince yourself to the the spokesperson for christianity or are you just trying to convince yourself you are a christian for the moment until Sunday. Leave religion out of it. If the young woman took her own life then it is a tragedy but she is the one accountable no one else.

      October 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • What

      Actually, Christians have rather perfected dehumanizing language. Ever read the bible, while not in denial?

      October 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      I'm an agnostic, I think.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ian

      Thank god I'm not a christian!....oh wait, that's an oxymoron. Thank my educators for teaching me common sense!

      Anyway....with regards to the above story: It sounds like a classic case of the Darwin theory! Just not smart enough to keep herself alive......although she did reproduce; so there's that!

      October 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      "Assuming all the people posting here are Christians is quite the assumption, isn't?"

      I would say that is a good assumption considering the number of Americans claiming to be Christians.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      To the non-reading attackers of this writer, a number of posters bring up Christ. It is reasonable to suppose they consider themselves Christians. That's how this writer can bring up their poor Christianity. As for the rest of you, don't worry. No one will mistake you for a Christian, good or otherwise.

      October 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Annie

    So there was already a law for state assistance that requires you to report any new income within 10 days, but now they have another law that says lottery winners cant receive state benefits. These are the kinds fo ridiculous political issues our legislators are busy with. Thanks, elected officials for looking out for us with new laws that are pointless.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uptown

      I agree Annie, I whole heartidly politicians should allow our tax dollars to support individuals who come into large amounts of cash.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alo

    Overdose?...What a bad way to waste your life......drugs are bad for everyone

    October 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ian

      LOL.....yeah, tell me that the next time you take an asprin for your headache or antibiotics for your life threatening infection......or any of the other many drugs you will most likely take in your lifetime in order to prolong it and make it more comfortable. When used properly DRUGS ARE A MIRACLE!

      October 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sanjosemike

    Winning the lottery and a drug addict? Why not just GIVE the money to her drug supplier and avoid the middleman.


    October 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian P

    Office Space: What would you do if you had a million dollars?

    Amanda Clayton: Buy the biggest crack rock I can, then smoke all of it.

    October 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Penguin

    People assumed the posts were from "christians" because of their vile and hateful nature. It is a reasonable assumption but not a verifiable truth. From reading the article it sounds like the drug overdose may have been from prescription drugs- we won't know until the autopsy results. Just because she's from Detroit doesn't mean she was on crack.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hawkeye321

    Lotto meets Blotto.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. abuja19

    I remember reading about this lady a few years back. I'm not surprised. What a waste.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. earl woods

    Another example of the 47%

    October 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Pathetic Republic of Democrats

      You hit the nail on the head, Earl.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ian

      Are you implying that 47% of the population is like this girl? Hummm. If 47% of the population was like this girl, they would be dead and therefore could not be counted in that 47%. yup, that just happened!

      October 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    I guess I should feel bad for her but I really really don't. For some reason she reminds me of The Tot Mom.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sagebrush Shorty

    Anyone who says that money can't buy happiness doesn't know where to shop.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • san

      you need to get a life- you idiot!

      October 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sagebrush Shorty

    Poetic Justice. What goes around comes around.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john

    "A fight broke out involving a knife, bat and airsoft gun" ....where do these people come from?????

    October 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ricardo1968

    Poverty is so soul destroying that even when you win the lottery in adulthood, its too late.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
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