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Mich. slow to crack down on big lottery winners

Submitted by Phil Heimerl on March 9, 2012 – 5:01 amNo Comment

Michigan lawmakers last year vowed to crack down when they heard an $850,000 lottery winner was buying groceries with food stamps.

Now comes news of another lucky player getting food on the public dime – and the Legislature still hasn’t passed a law to easily detect and clamp down on the abuse.
Amanda Clayton, 24, of Lincoln Park, chose a $700,000 lump sum, before taxes, last fall after winning a $1 million jackpot on “Make Me Rich!” a Michigan lottery game show.

A Detroit TV station approached her this week and asked why she still was using a debit-style card to make purchases under the food-stamp program. 

Clayton, a mother of two, told WDIV TV, “I feel that it’s OK because I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.”
In a statement, the state Department of Human Services said it was Clayton’s responsibility to report her dramatic change in wealth within 10 days. 

She has since been dropped from the food program.  Authorities have yet to announce if Clayton will face charges.  The penalty for welfare fraud over $500 can go as high as four years in prison.

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