The Michigan woman who continued to claim a food-stamp benefit after winning a $1 million state lottery jackpot pleaded not guilty to welfare fraud charges Tuesday in Lincoln Park’s 25th District Court.
Amanda Clayton was arrested on Monday. If she is convicted of the two felony charges against her, she could face up to four years in prison, according to WJBY Detriot. (EARLIER: Lottery winner on food stamps: ‘I thought maybe it was okay because I’m not working)
Detroit’s WDIV-TV4 exposed Clayton’s alleged food stamp chicanery in March and confronted her on-air.
“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was okay because I’m not working,” she said.
When WDIV asked if she felt she had a right to the money, Clayton responded, “I mean I kinda do.”
Clayton also pointed out that since she decided to take her winnings in a single lump-sum, the prize after taxes was just over half the initial jackpot.
Watch the WDIV-TV4 expose:
WJBY Detriot reported that Clayton’s defense lawyer Stanley Wise said Tuesday that he hopes the charges will be dropped at an April 24 hearing.
Shortly after the TV4 expose, the Michigan Department of Human Services dropped Clayton from its food stamp rolls, explaining that it is incumbent upon recipients to inform the agency within 10 days of a change in their income or assets.
“It’s simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. “We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities to uphold state laws intended to ensure wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”