Michigan Lottery Winner Charged With Welfare Fraud

There’s been another development in the saga of the Michigan woman who won $1 million in the lottery but continued to collect food stamps. The state’s attorney general announced today that the woman had been charged with welfare fraud.

According to authorities, the woman collected a total of $5,475 in public assistance between Aug. 2011 and March 2012, when the state read about her story and pulled her benefits.

She’s been accused of failing to inform welfare officials of her winnings. The state alleges she also continued to mention that she was employed for five months in 2011 but continued to receive benefits.

If found guilty, each charge could result in up to four years in prison.

Michigan lottery winner charged with welfare fraud [USA Today]

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  1. madrigal says:

    I hope she does get some jail time. It’s cases like these that put so much stigma on welfare for families that really need it.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      I came into this thread to say this.

    • StarKillerX says:

      I have to agree, for years I’ve been disgusted that every single case of welfare fraud I’ve every seen reported the worst sentence the welfare cheat ever recieved was they had to pay back the money to wrong got, even when they were caught multiple times trying to cheat the system.

      I’ve always said if bank robbery was handled the same I’d rob a bank every day at lunch and lock the money away someplace safe so if I was caught I’d pay them back and go on my way as eventually I’d get away with it at least once.

    • ckspores says:

      +1.

    • Deep Cover says:

      You do realize that it costs $60,000 per year to incarcerate someone? Why would you spend $60k to punish someone who “stole” $5K? Doesn’t that seem a little “extreme” to you???

      • BigDragon says:

        You’re effectively advocating that we let this person continue abusing the system for 11 more years so the amount unjustly taken from public funds reaches some sort of parity with the actual cost for the government to enforce consequences. Good luck discouraging people from abusing the system. Without principles people will just walk all over the system. Just give them a little bit here, and a little bit there, and eventually it’ll get completely out of control because consequences are based on comparative cost instead of principle. I’d rather spend the $60k sending this person to jail for stealing $5k from the public and discourage other people gaming the system than let dozens of people nibble away at the funds when they don’t qualify.

        • FigNinja says:

          I’d rather fine her $60k and make her do community service.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            I’d rather see her fined 100x the value of the stolen money, not some pittance. She’s not taking money from the government, she’s taking food from every family that will have to go without welfare when the bullshit “reform” laws are passed that purely screw deserving people out of assistance.

          • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

            I’d give her the option of paying back the $5k, + 1/2 the amount it would cost the state to incarcerate her to avoid jail time… or just go to jail.

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    Too bad she doesn’t have the money to hire a good lawyer. Ohhh, wait…

  3. GoldVRod says:

    Well to be fair August shouldn’t count since she didn’t win until September.

    9/11!

    • discipleprodigy says:

      She was on welfare when she had a job, is the point. That’s a separate charge from the fact that she hid her lottery winnings from them.

  4. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I can’t believe the Republican-run Michigan government is trying to punish this poor single mother. It seems no one can live the American Dream without their meddling.

  5. Cat says:

    She should use the money to get a nose job.

  6. Jawaka says:

    I wouldn’t put her in jail but I’m fine with fining her a large sum.

    Also, “The state alleges she also continued to mention that she was employed for five months in 2011 but continued to receive benefits. “

    huh?

  7. Portlandia says:

    At least she’ll have a well funded commissary account!

  8. Gman says:

    See if government joined the 21st century and linked all of their various databases reasonably, we won’t have to worry about cases like this.

    The second that the lottery folks helped her fill the appropriate tax forms the info should have been available for the appropriate agencies to immediately update and flag their information.

    • Marlin says:

      Yea but then it would only take 1 weak database/computer system to get into EVERY account in the State.

  9. Extended-Warranty says:

    I hope she is fined 1 mil

  10. lonestarbl says:

    Any journalists out there up for the challenge to try and do this type of investigation nation-wide?

  11. dolemite says:

    She felt like it was ok to keep collecting it since she has bills to pay, like 2 houses. Wow. It seems greedy humans can justify anything.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Gotta get more of that lottery winnings back to the state, right?

    /snark

  13. az123 says:

    Not that I at all agree with what the woman did, but to me this is the people at the state trying to save face after they screwed up

  14. final_atom says:

    she’ll be back on welfare again.

  15. Remarkable Melba Kramer says:

    Hey, what about Michigan’s most elligible bachelor Leroy Fick?? He did/does the same thing….

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/19/leroy-fick-lottery-winner-food-stamps_n_864113.html

  16. ned4spd8874 says:

    Yes!

  17. GrimJack says:

    It’s like when big lottery winner say that they plan on keeping their jobs, even though they don’t need to work. Sure she doesn’t need welfare anymore but, darn it, she’s not going to let the money change her, no sir.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I would definitely keep it for a while, until I got everything set up. It takes some time to make a decent financial plan. Then I would quit. But I don’t have a job right now, so I don’t have to worry about it. Bring on the money!

  18. ovalseven says:

    She continued to mention she was employed?

  19. Deep Cover says:

    Funny that people are concerned about a $5k welfare fraud case and YET no ONE has gone to jail for the mortgage crisis. I guess $5k > $3 trillion.

  20. shepd says:

    The employment is a definite thing she’ll be screwed on.

    I still don’t feel bad for her trying, though. But if she lied to get around the rules, and that lying is illegal (it almost always is) she gets the consequences she invited. Had she disclosed her situation as far as is legally required and still collected, then good for her. Sounds like she didn’t, though.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, good for her to stealing from taxpayers…….. wait what?

      • shepd says:

        I’m not getting the stealing for taxpayers thing. If she’s following the rules, she’s just getting back some of the money the government already stole from her. Good for her to get back what they took against her will.

        Unless, of course, you’re one of the weird ones who feels good every time they pay taxes. To me, I feel bad. I feel like someone took that money and I didn’t want them to have it. If I have an opportunity to get some of it back without breaking the law, hells yeah, I will, and I don’t care what someone else says about it.

        Of course, in this case, she seems to have broken the law. That was dumb. Declare it all and see what they do about it. Weirder things happen.

  21. Crymansqua says:

    So, the state is going to possibly take her to court, send her to jail, fine her (thereby reducing whatever money she has left from her lottery win), which will likely put her back on welfare.

    How is this a win for the state?

    /not saying what she did was right.

    • jacobs cows says:

      Can’t you do simple math? She will be just fine.

      • Crymansqua says:

        Did you bother reading the article? She has TWO houses and the original interview said she bought a new car. What makes you think she has anything substantial left?

        She’ll be back on welfare soon enough.

        • shepd says:

          If the two houses are in detroit, that totalled with the car comes out to a total cost of $30,010. :) Assuming the car is reasonably nice, of course.

  22. discipleprodigy says:

    She was on welfare when she had a job and didn’t tell them about it, is the point. That’s a separate charge from the fact that she hid her lottery winnings from them.