$2 Million Michigan Lottery Winner, Whose Story Changed Food Stamps Law, Found Dead

Written By Matt Schoch on June 9, 2021

A former $2 million Michigan Lottery winner, whose story hit reality TV and then later provoked a new state law, has been found dead.

As reported first by MLive, the body of Leroy Norman Fick of Auburn was found June 5 in the Tittabawassee River near Northwood University in Midland, the Midland Police Department confirmed to the website.

Fick, 69, took home a lump sum of nearly $1 million after winning a $2 million jackpot. He appeared on a lottery-themed reality television show, then helped provoke a new state law to prevent many residents from collecting federal food assistance aid.

His life was a cautionary tale of what can happen after a big score.

Fick still collected food assistance after lottery score

After winning Michigan Lottery’s “Make Me Rich!” TV game show to the tune of $2 million in June 2010, MLive reported that Fick took home $998,570 after taxes in a lump sum.

Fick was later featured on the TLC program “Lottery Changed My Life” alongside his son, Jeff. The pair tore down his house and built a new one, purchased a new car, and spent big dollars on items such as fireworks, a slot machine and swords.

By 2012, Fick was sentenced to jail time after separate drug and firearm convictions. He had reportedly lost all the money he had won less than two years earlier.

After the win, Fick still collected food assistance via the state’s Bridge Card program.

Along with another lottery winner, the revelation caused state lawmakers to change eligibility requirements for state food aid.

As a result, according to Bridge Michigan, more than 15,000 families lost food stamps because their assets amounted to more than $5,000.

Police looking for information on Fick’s death

Fick’s death is not considered suspicious, the Midland Daily News reported.

However, according to MLive, police are asking anyone with information on the lottery winner now found dead to call them at 989-839-4719.

Perhaps, if nothing else, Michiganders can honor Fisk’s life by learning from his mistakes.

If you hit a big lottery score, enlist the services of an accountant, financial adviser and tax attorney.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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