The Norman Transcript

Opinion

October 11, 2012

Lottery winnings ‘killed’ Michigan woman

NORMAN — Amanda Clayton was not your typical millionaire.

In her short life, Amanda won a million-dollar lottery in Michigan, was convicted of collecting welfare after she got the lottery payout and found herself embroiled in a multitude of dramas and legal battles. Now she is dead, at age 25, of a possible drug overdose.

I’ve devoted much of my life to studying why people run through large sums of money. I’ve written two books, and my latest, “Life Lessons From the Lottery,” will be out on Kindle on Nov. 10. All focus on why people run through money needlessly.

I keep thinking Amanda might be alive if she had read one of them, but probably not. She lived a troubled life. Getting the lottery money added rocket fuel to her problems. Like so many lottery losers, Amanda made the first big mistake shortly after she hit the jackpot: She let the world know she won.

It’s possible for lottery winners in Michigan to collect their winnings anonymously, except for Mega Millions and Powerball winners. Amanda would have been better off to quietly take her winnings. Telling the world you have money you never expected is asking for trouble.

According to various news accounts, it seemed Amanda had a ton of newfound “friends.”

All wanted to take advantage of her. Although Amanda was not shy about making headlines with her check, there was one group of people she “forgot”

to mention it to: Those at the public assistance office.

Amanda pleaded no contest to fraud in June after prosecutors accused her of receiving $5,500 per month in food and medical benefits after she won the lottery, according to the Detroit News.

Millionaires are not supposed to collect food stamps. Of course, had Amanda tried to rip off the government as a Wall Street banker, her crime would been ignored and she probably would have received a bailout.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014