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. Leslie

    Although I am sorry to hear about her death, people like this are why our society is broken. She took a lump sum settlement of $500K and thought it was OK to still receive benefits. This makes me sick, luckily the government caught it & took away her benefits. That is more money than I have ever seen in my lifetime and I have never received any type of assistance.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    This is the best news Michigan has gotten all year! Now she can finally repay her debts to society.

    This also goes to show you that WE NEED TO HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE! Where is the mandatory drug testing for people receiving financial aid. I have witnessed far too many people abuse this system.

    October 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. susie

    I think its sad....no matter how much money you have.....it won't fix you.

    October 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ztom

      Maybe money won't buy happiness, but lack of money sure buys a truckload of sorrow.

      October 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buckeye

      As my grandpappy used to say, "Poor people have poor ways..." That money was a red carpet to whatever she wanted to be in life, but her chemically dependent feeble personality squandered it on drugs. She's a sad product of the Michigan democrat culture of despair and dependency. What a broken pathetic wasteland. They have beautiful nature, but the humans there are a mess.

      October 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • ONELADY2

      All I can say is if this woman had been "black" you all would have made this into a race issue. You would be up in here yelling ANOTHER BLACK WOMAN abusing the system and you know i'm right.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brad76

    Drugs are bad mmk?

    October 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rayvon

      Drugs and Liberal welfare trashes are inseparable!

      October 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ztom


      I agree with welfare trash. But from the sound bites she gave, she was far from liberal. Look them up. lol

      October 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. FU

    When winners are losers..

    October 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FU

    Your comment is awaiting moderation....lol...

    October 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    People who win lotteries need to learn how to say "No"....I can see a slight problem with winning mega millions and you have 9 figures in the bank, but 500k should be easy. Buy a modest house, a 1 year old modest car, pay all the bills off, take care of the kids college educations, and put the rest in the bank and DON'T SPLURGE! Maybe if she could have said no she might still be alive.....

    October 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Umm, didn't see anything about her splurging in this article. I mean, she bought a house and a car and obviously had something left over if she could afford to pay back the welfare bills. Sounds like she was a person who had problems already and money's not gonna solve that unless you get yourself in counseling or something. Sad.

      October 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Plumelet

    I am sorry but I just find it hard to be sympathetic to people like her. Feel bad for her child though.

    October 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gager

    Drugs always betray.

    October 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. brian

    must have been all those positive thoughts she was evoking from people, and yeah it is sad

    October 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rayvon

    Sorry to say....Obama has lost another vote! 🙁

    October 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      Somehow I don't believe you're sorry. You'd have to have a conscience. TBH I don't think this girl was civic-minded enough to vote Democratic.

      October 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    Win a half million dollars, blow it on meth or crack. Wow... I guess that's what happens when we have a society who likes watching shows like Honey Boo Boo.

    October 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gen

    Maybe it happened for a reason so her babys life will be spared since she was an addict. Hope they find her a better home....

    October 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    Sorry to hear of her death, however it's safe to say she won't be cheating Michigan taxpayers anymore.

    Drugs are big lie. Don't go that direction.

    October 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    CNN: Office of Inspector General looked into the matter, the Lincoln Park woman was charged with two felony counts of welfare fraud .
    JF: Does anybody believe citing the deceased and publicizing it, is in the best public intrest? Especially when it involves a child?

    October 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waylon

      They cited her BEFORE she died. She paid it back BEFORE she died. The reason this is a story now is because she cheated then.

      October 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13