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Woman charged with welfare fraud after hitting the jackpot

Did you know that if you continue to collect some government benefits after coming into a lot of money, you could be breaking the law? Some South Carolina residents don't realize that a windfall might mean a cutoff of benefits. For example, one Midwest woman faces criminal charges after allegedly winning her state lottery and subsequently collecting food stamps. As a result, this woman confronts two felonies for welfare fraud.

Sources say that the woman was a contestant on a televised game last fall. Supposedly, the woman won around $1 million and took home more than $500,000.

Officials purportedly discovered the woman's use of a food stamp bridge card after her winnings. She faces charges for not informing welfare of her winnings or her employment, which lasted five months in 2011.

Supposedly, the lottery winner took home approximately $5,475 in food and medical assistance from August 2011 through March 2012. If convicted, the woman could face years in prison.

According to the Attorney General, "It's simply common sense that million-dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance."

Nevertheless, the woman has issued the following statement: "I feel that it's OK because, I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay."

One might argue that it is not exactly common sense that one would no longer receive government benefits after an unexpected fortune. Nevertheless, the law will not make exceptions for those who are misinformed. For this reason, if you are facing new financial circumstances, you may want to meet with a legal specialist to ensure that you understand your rights.

Source: USA Today, "Michigan lottery winner charged with welfare fraud," Dawson Bell, April 17, 2012

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