A Michigan lottery winner who collected $5,475 in food handouts despite winning a $1million prize has avoided being jailed for fraud.
Amanda Clayton, of Lincoln Park, was today sentenced to nine months’ probation and ordered to pay court costs and fines after pleading no contest to fraud last month. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Margie Braxton also told the 25-year-old mother to get a job.
Her lawyer said Clayton is looking for a job, but will likely have trouble because of her felony conviction.
Attorney Todd Flood says Clayton has repaid about $5,500 in food aid and medical benefits.
The Michigan Department of Human Services says Clayton didn't inform the state about her post-tax lottery windfall of $735,000 last year. Flood says Clayton did make an attempt but decided not to fight the case and move on with her life. If she had fought the case and been convicted of the two felony charges, she could have faced up to four years in prison.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law in April that requires lottery officials to tell the Department of Human Services about new winners. 'It's simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance,' Attorney General Bill Schuette said at Clayton's April arraignment.
Clayton chose a $700,000 lump sum, before taxes, last fall after winning the jackpot on 'Make Me Rich!' a Michigan lottery game show.
The case came to light March when the 24-year-old was filmed outside her home where a U-Haul van was waiting to take her possessions to a new home she had bought with cash.
Clayton also had a new car.
She told Detroit TV station WDIV at the time that she thought it might have been OK to keep using food stamps because she wasn't working.
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