In this photo provided by the Michigan Lottery, Amanda Clayton holds her $1 million lottery check
LANSING, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) - A 25-year-old woman from Lincoln Park, Mich., who continued to collect food stamps after winning the state lottery's $1 million Make Me Rich! game show has been charged with two felonies for welfare fraud, Attorney General Bill Schuette said Tuesday.
Amanda Clayton, whose use of a food stamp bridge card was uncovered earlier this year by WDIV-TV, was to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of failing to inform welfare officials of her winnings or the fact that she was employed for five months in 2011, Schuette said in a joint announcement with Director Maura Corrigan of the Michigan Department of Human Services.
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They said Clayton illegally collected about $5,475 in food and medical assistance from August 2011 through March 2012.
Each of the two charges of welfare fraud, failure to inform is punishable by up to four years in prison.
"It's simply common sense that million-dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance," Schuette said in a statement.
Clayton won the televised game Sept 12, 2011, and reportedly took home more than $500,000. She told WDIV-TV that she thought she was justified in continuing to collect the state payments after her windfall because she was now unemployed.
"I feel that it's OK because, I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay,' she said. 'I have two houses.' "
Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press