Woman who won lottery and remained on welfare dies

8:19 PM, Sep 30, 2012   |    comments
  • Amanda Clayton of Lincoln Park, MI (CNN/WDIV)
  • In this photo provided by the Michigan Lottery, Amanda Clayton holds her $1 million lottery check on March 8. (USA Today)
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DETROIT -- Amanda Clayton, the Lincoln Park woman who caused a stir after continuing to take food stamps after winning the state lottery's $1-million "Make Me Rich!" game show, has died of a possible drug overdose, police said Saturday.

Clayton, 25, was found dead by police about 9 a.m. at a home on Sunnyside Road in Ecorse, said Ecorse Police Sgt. Cornelius Herring. No further details were released by police.

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The results of the autopsy are pending toxicology reports, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office. They are expected to take six to eight weeks and no cause or manner of death will be determined until the test are back.

Clayton was propelled into the spotlight after a local news outlet learned she had won the game show in September 2011, but continued to take welfare benefits. At the time, she said she was entitled to the payments because she still needed help.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office did not provide information Saturday night about the cause of Clayton's death. Attempts to reach her family on Saturday were unsuccessful.

Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Clayton with felony welfare fraud, and she was sentenced to nine months of probation in late July. She was also ordered to repay the roughly $5,500 in food and medical assistance she received after winning the money.

State law requires anyone on assistance programs whose income changes to report those changes within 10 days. Clayton was on food assistance from 2010 to 2012, and despite having a job for four months in 2011, she did not report the change to the state, though it is unclear whether that would have affected her eligibility for benefits.

Days before her arrest, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law requiring lottery officials to report winnings to the Department of Human Services.

(Detroit Free Press)

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