Amanda Clayton (pictured), the $1 million Michigan Lottery winner who continued to collect food stamps after her big payday, was found dead from a possible drug overdose on Saturday, the Detroit Free Press reports.
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Friends found Clayton lying in bed holding her one and a half year old daughter, according to WXYZ-TV. Results from an autopsy are pending.
The Lincoln Park, Mich., woman drew national attention for collecting food stamp benefits after winning the state lottery’s $1-million “Make Me Rich!” game show. She shot back at critics, arguing that she was entitled to the benefits because she needed the money.
State Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Clayton with felony welfare fraud, and she was sentenced to nine months of probation in late July, according to the Free Press. She was also ordered to repay the $5,500 in food stamp and medical assistance she received after winning the lottery money.
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WXYZ-TV spoke to her boyfriend and this is what he had to say:
When she went to a home in Ecorse on Friday night to see her kids, 25-year-old Amanda Clayton appeared confused said her friend’s boyfriend.
“She was already in a bad stage. Her legs were shaking. You know she was going through her prayers. She was eating food with the kids,” said the friend’s boyfriend who did not want to be identified. He said they were babysitting Amanda’s daughter and young son. It was Amanda’s daughter who couldn’t wake her up.
“She was right next to her sleeping. They were watching movie together. She started crying. And that’s when Rachel walked in and she tried to see what was going on and she flipped her and she was gone,” he said.
Michigan state law requires that anyone on public assistance report changes in their income within ten days. Clayton, 25, was on public assistance from 2010 to 2012, despite having a job for four months in 2011. It is not clear if her benefits would have been taken away had she reported her employment status.
Clayton’s grieving boyfriend told WXYZ-TV that the attention that came with winning $1 million took its toll on her.
“What’s $5,500? She paid it off. She paid the money off,” he said. He added that she was tormented by the fame and problems that came with winning the lottery.
”So many people tried to take advantage of her, act like they are her friends just to get some money from her. It gets to the point where you start questioning yourself. Are they really my friends or are they using me?” he said. “What’s the point of having money if you’re not going to have happiness?”
The boyfriend says that Clayton gave away most of her money and set up college funds for her children. He says she only had $67,000 left at the time of her death.