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.
She got nine months' probation instead. She wound up not living until the end of her sentence.
I’m not sure winning the lottery was the source of Amanda's problems, but I've see this happen too many times: People who win lose perspective on normal things in life. They start to think rules don’t apply to them.
It’s been said that 90 percent of people who win the lottery will run through the money in five years or less.
I tell lottery winners to do five things to protect themselves:
1. Don’t tell anyone you won. Collect the money anonymously, if you can.
2. Stop and think for a minute before rushing down to collect the check.
3. Don’t take the lump-sum payment. Take the money over time instead.
4. Find an adviser who has worked with people who have more money than you do. If you win $100 million, find an adviser who has clients with $150 million.
5. Use your money to give something back to society.
In Amanda’s case, she thought she could outsmart the welfare people and apparently do serious drugs without consequence.
She lost her bet both times.
Don McNay is a columnist for the Richmond (Ky.) Register. Contact him at email@example.com.