Slot Machine Jackpot Seized

Linda Fleming hit a jackpot only to have it taken away by the State Of Iowa.
Gaming officials seized her $1,100 winnings because Human Services Agency claims she had been overpaid welfare benefits more than 20 years ago.

Fleming is shocked to learn the State contends she owes $24,000 for Aid To Dependent Children and Medicaid Health benefits from 1986 to 1990. She doesn't think she was ever overpaid and never received notice from the state demanding repayment. Fleming said, "I should have had a judgment put against me through the courts so I would get notification. I didn't even know Iowa could take your winnings."

Fleming claims she never received any of the four notification letters the State agency sent her in the 1990's. She had moved to Texas during that period the State of Iowa sent her notice to negotiate repayment

However an Administrative law judge ruled the state acted within the law by seizing the jackpot as payment on the overpayment of benefits.

Fleming claims a friend gave her the $12 she used to win the $1,166 on a 20 cent slot machine at Council Bluffs Horseshoe Casino. She planned to use the winnings on a car down-payment. Fleming is on disability and now living in Omaha

Iowa requires casinos flag winnings $1,200 or more. A computer check will show if the winners owe the state any money. Fleming appealed by arguing her jackpot was under the amount required to be reported. The administrative judge ruled state law doesn't exempt a lower amount from seizure if the state discovers the winnings.

In the last six months of last year Iowa collected $1.3 million for debts owed the state from overpayment of welfare benefits to past due child support. Most of the money came through gaming jackpots.

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