MIDLAND, MI — Police have identified a body found floating in the Tittabawassee River over the weekend as that of a Bay County man who won about $2 million in the lottery more than 10 years ago.
The Midland Police Department confirmed the body was that of 69-year-old Leroy N. Fick, an Auburn resident. Officers said the circumstances of Fick’s death do not appear to be suspicious, though they did not disclose the cause or manner of death.
Fick’s body was spotted shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, in the Tittabawassee River. Officers and firefighters recovered the body from the river between Whiting Drive and Dublin Avenue.
Fick made headlines after he won nearly $2 million in Michigan’s “Make Me Rich!” lottery in June 2010. took a lump, post-tax sum of $998,570 and was later featured alongside his son on the TLC program, “Lottery Changed My Life.”
With his winnings, Fick demolished his home and built a new one on the same site, purchased a brand-new Chevrolet Camaro, and spent a significant amount on fireworks.
Fick later admitted he was still receiving government assistance via a Bridge Card after winning the lottery. The following year, Lincoln Park resident Amanda Clayton won $1 million on “Make Me Rich!” and also continued using her Bridge Card. The conduct of Fick and Clayton prompted legislators to fashion a new law requiring the Michigan Lottery to provide to the Department of Human Services the name and other information of a person who wins $1,000 or more. DHS must then apply an asset test to determine the winner’s eligibility for food aid.
Within two years of winning the lottery and having squandered most of the funds, Fick was living on a fixed income of about $1,100 per month.
In January 2012, Fick was sentenced to 45 days in jail in Isabella County on a drug conviction. In October of the same year, a Bay County judge sentenced Fick to 13 to 60 months in prison on convictions of larceny of a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm.
“The whole thing just blew up in my face,” Fick told the judge of how he lost his fortune. “I thought people would love me if I helped them out some. I had the wrong idea, I guess. They all turned on me and that was it.”
Police are asking anyone with information on Fick’s death to call them at 989-839-4719.