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Fraud Charges Against Michigan Lotto Winner

04/18/2012 10:04 AM ET

A lotto winner in Michigan decided to continue to collect food stamps and government health insurance, which has led to her being charged with fraud.

Amanda Clayton, 25, was receiving the public assistance when she was the winner of a $1 million lotto jackpot last September. She had chosen to take the one time lump-sum payment option of $735,000. However, she now faces charges of fraud.

However, she failed to report her new-found income to the state. Over the next eight months Clayton continued to collect the food stamps and health insurance benefits which totaled $5,475.

“It’s simply common sense that million-dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance,” said Attorney General Bill Schuette.

On Monday Clayton was arrested on the fraud charge; she spent the night in jail, and on Tuesday entered a “not-guilty” plea during her court hearing. Her lawyer, Stanley Wise, is vowing to fight the charges; at the next hearing, on May 1, he will ask that the charges against his client are dropped.

“They want to make an example of her,” Wise later told The Associated Press, referring to state officials. “She’s offered to repay the money. They haven’t even sent her a bill. If that were the only issue, it would be over and done. They have chosen to exploit this for their purposes, and we have to deal with it.”

Clayton had told a local station, WDIV, last month that she thought that since she was a single mom of a 1-year-old and had no job, she could continue to collect the benefits. Meanwhile, Clayton’s father, Euline told reporters that the criminal case against her daughter is “crap” and that she had tried to call someone at the Human Services Department several times but could never reach anyone.

Clayton ended up posting her $1,000 bail and has been released. If found guilty of the fraud charge, she could face a maximum of four years in prison.


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