The lottery winner who sparked outrage for still collecting food stamps after winning $1 million has been arrested and now faces up to four years in jail. Amanda Clayton, 24, previously told reporters that she "was struggling" and needed the extra assistance.
"I feel it's okay [to receive welfare] because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses," Clayton told WDIV news in March. At the time, lottery and government officials were investigating her claims as a result of an anonymous tip alleging she was falsely receiving welfare.
"I thought they would cut me off, but since they didn't, I thought maybe it was okay because I'm not working," Clayton said. She attempted to defend her actions, though and has said that she will continue claiming her benefits until she is cut off.
Clayton is the single mother of two and is "upset but she'll be fine" defense attorney Stanley Wise told reporters after her arraignment today. He stated that he plans to have the charges against his client dismissed, but did not revealed any type of defense for the court date on April 24.
According to the charges filed against her, Clayton collected $5,475 in food and medical assistance between August 2011 and March 2012. The Department of Human Services is leading the investigation, and the Michigan Office of Inspector General is launching its own investigation.
"It's simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in an official statement. "We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities to uphold state laws intended to ensure wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars."
Clayton is being held on $10,000 bail and has her next court appearance on April 24.