Schuette, Corrigan Announce Welfare Fraud Charges Against Million-Dollar Lottery WinnerContact:
John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060
LANSING - Attorney
Bill Schuette and Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura D.
Corrigan today announced that the Attorney General's Criminal Division has
charged a million-dollar lottery winner with two felony counts of welfare fraud
after investigation revealed she failed to report her lottery winnings, as well
as her employment, as required by State law governing public assistance
programs. The charges resulted from an investigation by the Michigan Department
of Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
"It's simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners
forfeit their right to public assistance," said Schuette. "We will continue to
work with local, state and federal authorities to uphold state laws intended to
ensure wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars."
work done by our Office of Inspector General has helped make the difference in
this case," said Corrigan. "That commitment to investigation and uncovering the
truth, combined with the new law recently enacted by the legislature and signed
by the Governor, will make it easier to ensure that outrages involving instant
millionaires on public assistance don't happen in the future."
Amanda Clayton, 25, of Lincoln Park, received public assistance
from August 2010 through March 2012. Investigation by the Department of Human
Services, Office of Inspector General revealed that Clayton was employed from
June 2011 through October 2011. It is alleged that income from Clayton's
employment during that time period was never reported to DHS officials, as
required by State law. Additionally, on September 12, 2011, Clayton won
$1,000,000 in the "Make Me Rich!" game show sponsored by the Michigan Lottery.
It is alleged Clayton also failed to report the lottery winnings as income. As
a result, from August 2011 through March 2012, Clayton allegedly collected
approximately $5,475 in food and medical assistance benefits for which she would
otherwise have been ineligible.
Clayton has been charged by Schuette with two counts of Welfare
Fraud – Failure to Inform, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
The charges were filed today in Lincoln Park's 25th District Court.
Clayton was arrested Monday, April 16, 2012 by Special Agents
from the Department of Attorney General and is expected to be arraigned on
Tuesday, April 17, 2012.
April 11, 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed new legislation requiring the
Michigan Lottery to notify the Department of Human Services about any lottery
winners awarded $1,000 or more within seven days. The legislation also provided
for specific asset tests to help determine eligibility for some public
assistance programs. Clayton was not charged under the new laws, because her
alleged crimes took place in 2011.
criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent
unless proven guilty.