Lottery winner won’t challenge fraud charges

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — No trial, no questions and a no-contest plea bring to an end the story of a lottery winner charged with welfare fraud.

Amanda Clayton pleaded no contest Thursday before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Margie Braxton to two counts of felony welfare fraud. Clayton was charged by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette with collecting more than $5,000 in food and medical assistance from the state after winning a $1 million lottery prize.

Clayton appeared in September 2011 on the Michigan Lottery “Make Me Rich” TV show, and accepted a lump-sum payout of $735,000 after hitting the jackpot. Schuette said that Clayton continued to collect $200 monthly in Bridge card food assistance, accepted medical aid and did not report her lottery winnings.

After Clayton’s case captured local and national attention, the state legislature amended laws requiring lottery winners to report earnings of more than $1,000, and Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law in April that requires more communication between Human Services and lottery officials.

Clayton offered restitution of any benefits she was not entitled to receive. Clayton is expected to be put on probation when sentenced on July 24.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)