A little more than a month after it was revealed that lottery-winner Amanda Clayton was still collecting government benefits via food stamps, she has been arrested and is facing up to four years in jail for fraud.
At the time the story broke, Clayton explained: “I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was okay because I’m not working.”
When asked if she thought it was “right” to accept taxpayer money – even if she was under the impression it was legal – she said “kind of… I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay.”
Clayton reportedly bought two houses and a car with her unexpected riches, but was loathe to forfeit the $200 a month she was receiving in government assistance.
Clayton reportedly had ten days to report the significant asset change to the state, but failed to do so.
“She‘s upset but she’ll be fine,” her lawyer said, after she was arrested Monday. Though he did not explain how, he also said that he hopes to see her charges dismissed at the next hearing.
However, it doesn‘t help her case that Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette seems completely unsympathetic, commenting: “It’s simply common sense that million-dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance.”
Here is the video that originally “busted” Clayton:
Republican lawmakers are now taking steps to pass a bill that makes it illegal for lottery winners to collect food stamps. The bills, one for the house and one for the senate, stipulate that winners of more than $1,000 must have their names cross-checked with the Department of Human Services before receiving government assistance.
However, some small-government advocates worry that creating a bureau to monitor lottery winners will be just as costly for the taxpayer as continuing to pay the few who strike it lucky.
All of this, they say, because a woman who won close to a million dollars wouldn’t give up her $200 monthly check from the government.