Lottery Winner Who Continued Taking Welfare Benefits Found Dead

Amanda Clayton, who won Michigan’s Make Me Rich! game show in 2011, died of a possible drug overdose Saturday.

Police found Clayton dead around 9 am at her home in Ecorse, Sgt. Cornelius Herring said. No further details were released.

Clayton become the subject of national attention after a local news outlet learned that she continued to take welfare benefits after winning $1 million from the game show in September 2011. She said she still needed the help and was entitled to the payments.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Clayton with felony welfare fraud. She pleaded no contest to the charges and was sentenced to nine months probation in July. She was also ordered to repay $5,500 in food and medical assistance.

Michigan state law requires that anyone with changes in income who are enrolled in assistance programs report the changes within 10 days. Clayton had been on food assistance for two years, from 2010 to 2012. She had a job for four months in 2011, but did not report the change to the state.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law requiring lottery officials to inform Human Services about new winners in April.

In August, four people were charged with felonious assault outside of Clayton’s home. The fight, which involved a knife, toy gun, and baseball bat, began as a disagreement over grass clippings between Clayton and her neighbor’s yards.

Other Michigan lottery winners have also had trouble with the law. Freddie Young from Detroit was sentenced to 20 to 35 years in prison for killing his daughter’s landlord. The 64-year old, who won $1.57 million in February 2011, was convicted on second-degree murder and felony firearm charges in August.

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