Wednesday, May 18, 2011

$2 Million Lottery Winner still on Food Stamps

Leroy Fick, middle, won $2 million
Auburn, MI, May 18, 2011. Fifty-nine-year-old Leroy Fick won the $2 million jackpot on the state TV lottery show “Make Me Rich,” but he’s still collecting state aid.

Leroy Fick of Bay County admitted he still swipes the electronic card at stores, nearly a year after winning a jackpot on "Make Me Rich!"

Despite receiving about $850,000 in winnings, the Auburn resident is still using his Michigan Bridge Card, an electronic alternative to food stamps.

He told WNEM-TV in Saginaw that more than half the prize went to taxes.

Fick says the Department of Human Services told him he could continue to use the card, which is paid with tax dollars. He told WNEM: "If you're going to ... try to make me feel bad, you aren't going to do it."

The TV station says people have seen Fick driving a new Audi convertible. Messages seeking comment were left with his attorney and the state today.

Fick's lawyer said his client hasn't done anything illegal.

"He did call the state," John Wilson, the Midland attorney representing Fick, told The Bay City Times for a story Wednesday. "Not to mention, the state knows he won. They issued the check."

Further, Wilson said, Fick's case was recently reviewed and his eligibility was confirmed. "It's not him," Wilson said. "As far as him doing the right thing by the (Department of Human Services), he did the right thing."

Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw that more than half the lottery prize went to taxes. He said the department told him he could continue to use the card, which is paid with tax dollars.

Fick appeared on the lottery show after winning $1,000 on one of the lottery's $20 instant games.
Eligibility for the federal food stamp program is based on gross income, but some lottery winnings are counted as assets. State Department of Human Services spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau said under federal guidelines, if a person receives a lump-sum payment, the winnings are not counted as income.

Nearly 1.9 million Michigan residents are enrolled in the food assistance program. More than 805,000 are children, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In 2009, the Office of Inspector General investigated more than 2,600 food assistance complaints, finding more than $5 million in fraud.

1 comment:

  1. Remind me again who is in charge in Michigan.