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. BuckUpUS

    How sad A
    And I keep praying to hit it

    October 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Popeye

      Hit what? The lottery number? Or HER?

      October 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Blue Sapphire


    October 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miss Manager

      How is this Karma? Do you know what Karma is? What did she do that she deserved to die like this? You are a crappy person. I hope Karma gets you.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PK

    A shame....poor kids..

    October 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph M

      True, it usually are the children who end up suffering in situations like this.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sheila

    Whether she was right or wrong in keeping the welfare, you have to admit that the saddest way to go is to be blessed by such a lump sum of many only to find you have no idea who your friends are anymore. To think, she had no idea who loved her or her money. Money changes people. It is just like power. If you have it, lots of people love you. My heart goes out to her. Hope she managed to provide for the little one.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ralph

    Why am I not surprised.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. *crystal

    How sad, money changes people in so many ways. she was a mother, R.I.P

    October 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. na

    I think the right word to describe this is "Schmuck".

    October 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hatebreedshate

    Hopefully this child will have a more responsible parent to guide her through the safe and pleasant streets of Detroit.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Grandpa Simpson

    She had help from before birth. With that drive-in movie screen of a forehead, she sure didn't fetal alcohol herself!

    October 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Popeye

      Your comment won't stay long Grandpa. They're deleting all of the cartoon character comments.

      October 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FParana

    You can take the trash out of the trailer, but you can't take the trailer out of the trash.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mary is crying

    OK, it's INSTANT karma. Do y o u know what that means? Add water and stir. don't like eit? Stop stirring. And pick up a book.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mary is crying

    Maybe her two bit gangsta friends need to get a job and stop posting here...

    October 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bugl3t

    wow... you must be a republican. what a hater.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • KalifUni

      Liberals are the most hateful and intolerant people I know.

      October 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • UncleM

      Intolerant of people like you.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • UncleM

      In reply to KalifUni

      October 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Of course they are. Hate is required to be liberal. The entire ideology is based on redistribution. You can't redistribute if you don't have an enemy to take from. Hate is required to justify attacks on the enemy.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • dannythered

      RE: JD

      I can't believe anyone could write anything as ridiculous as you did. Truly must suck to be you...

      October 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • a fellow Christian?!

      We Americans must be big haters then since we seem to attack quite a few nations

      October 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      And may you get the help you so desperately need..

      October 2, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Ridiculous

      Am I self-hating then? I believe government should help those who need help (and that's why I pay taxes! not for war, but for governance), and shouldn't force any one person's choices on another person, that is why I am liberal. I don't hate you, but the general right wing use of liberal as a curse says that it's likely you hate me...

      October 2, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
    • John Smith from Los Angeles

      That's the most profound truth I've seen on this blogsite in awhile. I did everything right – studied hard, worked hard, became successful, and now I'm greedy for not giving it away to the unsuccessful who chose to party and squander opportunity? I want to secede. Let the blue states wallow in their misery, and the red states can be the new land of opportunity.

      October 2, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ms. Anne

      I'm being attacked, I'm a victim... boohoohoo.... help me/fix me...they want to help poor people, who are all poor by choice....dismissed!

      October 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fran

      I second that!

      October 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ployes

      And how many do you know? My guess: 0

      October 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • george

      I really don't get this liberal/conservative slant.
      It elevates the point to a generalised opinion, and quite frankly, is demeaning to those who pursue a lively discourse.

      October 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • seyedibar

      Still amazing to me that Republicans can turn the word "liberal" (which means free, charitable and open-minded) into a slur.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Debbie Gulledge

      Than apparently you haven't met many....you don't have an idea what a liberal is....the liberals support policemen, firefighters and soldiers and unlike your ignorant candidate who never even mentioned the soldiers at his convention the President did acknowledge them...they help people who can't help themselves, they feed people who don't have money for food and the list goes on so when you get down and out don't call on the dems to get you out go find a garbage can....

      October 2, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • bill

      For someone that stands behind their military,at his convention couldnt even take the time for his staff to look at the photos of the navy. (RUSSIAN WARSHIPS NOT AMERICAN). and who used their pay and benefits last year to try to make a point????.....??... If u have never served then I dont expect u to understand what happenes to a service member when he/she is deployed and finds out their spouse cant pay the bills or feed their kids becuase the administration is using the military pay and benefits as a bargoning chip, It is hell and is distracting and causes the personell down range to become unfocused and worried. Armerd Forces=(Rep/Dem/Ind)

      October 2, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Totally agree Debbie. these people who make generalizations about liberals are disgusting.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • thedarkelf

      Are you sure about that,Seems to me Liberals are the self rightious ones who fight for criminals rights,Illegal Aliens rights,poor peoples rights.covicts rights,etc etc if that is hateful then I agree. Libreals have totally messed this country up. I want the US to go back to when a person word was his bond and could be trusted. When you paid for your gas after you pumped it. This US is slowly becoming a place where greed and power are the currency. We are no different then any other country with corruption we just have more money.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • TampaMom

      Funny it's the republicans that I know who keep 2 sets of books for their small business – one for the government that doesn't show cash transactions and one for themselves. It's the republicans that I know who refuse to carry their own health insurance and then walk away from any medical bills when something happens. Look at the states who receive the most in government aid – a lot of red, die hard repubilcan states.

      And yes, I work and to be very honest I don't feel most of us pay enough in taxes to keep this vast nation running long term, we are very slowly decaying one broken water line and one pot hole at a time...

      October 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • panger

      Was that a facetious comment? I ask because I'm really confounded that you think liberals have totally messed this country up, and that we can't take anyone for their word or trust anyone due to liberals. And the gas pump thing. That's pure comedy, I mean, you can't make that stuff up. Genious really. Yes, more instances of stealing gas arose because of liberals. You have some evidence for that nutter? And, slowly becoming a country of greed and power? You aren't really that naive are you? Get a grip man.

      October 4, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Marci

      What is wrong with you? People and their inner souls have nothing to do with politics as you suggest. Grow up.

      October 2, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian Mouland

      What a weak,inane,untruthful generalization

      October 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jerome Horowitz

    If you don't change the people, places and things surrounding you, you won't change either.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. na

    She was most likely more so an average person than not. If humans still exist in a thousand years I'm guessing there will be quite a split by then within our species; some of us can see that chasm now.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
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