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A Lincoln Park woman who collected welfare benefits despite winning a big lottery prize pleaded no contest to fraud Thursday and likely will be sentenced to probation.
Lawyers for Amanda Clayton, a 25-year-old mother of two, were disappointed that state prosecutors would not settle the case without a felony charge.
"Ambitions often get in the way of good justice," Todd Flood told The Associated Press outside court.
There is no dispute that Clayton collected about $5,500 in food aid and medical benefits after winning a $735,000 lottery prize, before taxes, last year. After Clayton was confronted by TV station WDIV, the state charged her with fraud and said she should have informed the Department of Human Services about her windfall.
Clayton, who bought a new home and a car with her winnings, has said she felt entitled to the welfare handout.
The Michigan attorney general's offices says Clayton waived her preliminary examination in Lincoln Park that was scheduled for Tuesday. The hearing determines whether there's enough evidence for a case to go to trial. She's now due for June 5 arraignment in Circuit Court in Detroit.
A message was left Tuesday with a lawyer for Clayton.
Amanda Clayton's attorney John Dakmuk is not saying if a deal is in the works with the state attorney general to keep his client free, but he said restitution has not been ruled out.
"I can't get into too much of the details of the case but we are looking forward to putting this case before the court and before the public. There's a lot more to this case than's been alleged at this point," Dakmuk told reporters.
Amanda Clayton is charged with failing to inform the state that her income had changed as a result of the lottery prize and a job. The 25-year-old from Lincoln Park won a $1 million jackpot on the game show "Make Me Rich!" and chose a $735,000 lump sum, before taxes, last September.
She was set to appear today for a preliminary examination, but the hearing was adjourned at the defense's request.
The case is being prosecuted by the Michigan attorney general's office. A defense lawyer has said prosecutors are exploiting Clayton for their purposes.
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.
Terri List says she would tell her students not to become a teacher in Michigan.
One of the reasons is because the Saginaw Township Community School District English teacher won't be able to retire at age 47 as she has hoped.
List was highlighted by the Michigan Education Association as one of the critics of Senate Bill 1040, which would require public school employees to contribute at least 5 percent of their compensation to their retirement plan.
The MEA reported on its website: "Saginaw Township teacher Terry (sic) List had hoped to retire in the next three years when she was 47 years old. That wouldn't be possible under SB 1040. List would have to work another 16 years to be eligible for health benefits."
"By the time I'm 60, I would have put in 43 years of service, earning a salary at the top of the pay scale. How does that save the district money? You could hire two people for the cost of one and encourage young people to join the profession. Right now, I would not recommend to my pupils to become a teacher in Michigan."
Attorney General 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."
"The hard 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.