Lottery winner charged with welfare fraud for collecting state aid even after winning jackpot

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - A 25-year-old jackpot winner is facing up to eight years in prison for welfare fraud.

Amanda Clayton of Lincoln Park has been charged with two counts of welfare fraud by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. She was arraigned Tuesday morning.

Clayton is accused of failing to tell state welfare officials about her lottery winnings and about her income from a job.

"I understand what she did was wrong," said Amanda's mother outside court. "She didn't steal millions of dollars from the welfare office. She was collecting it for a few months."

Clayton won $1 million in September on the Michigan Lottery Make Me Rich game show. She was eventually cut off from state aid in March, after collecting almost $5500 in state aid she was not eligible for according to state officials.

"It's simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance," Schuette said in a release.

Clayton was arrested at her home Monday night and spent the night in jail. She was released following her arraignment after posting a $1000 bond.

"She is certainly not a person who should have been jailed for this,"' said Stanley Wise, Clayton's attorney. "However that's the way they operate."

Clayton declined to answer any questions when she was released from jail.

"Amanda made mistakes," said a woman who picked up Amanda when she was released. "She's trying to get things straightened out."

Lottery officials tell 7 Action News that Clayton took a $735,000 lump sum payment. She then had to pay 25% federal tax and 4.35% state tax.

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