Iowa Lottery fraudster guilty of rigging jackpots facing jail

  • Eddie Tipton confessed to fixing jackpots six times
  • Prosecutors are seeking a 25-year sentence for him

A former employee of the Multi-State Lottery Association in De Moines, Iowa, managed to rake in around $2 million by illegally rigging a number of lotteries.

Eddie Tipton, an employee for over a decade, was in many respects a trusted and respected member of the team. Little did his colleagues know that while the Information Security Director was being paid to protect lotteries and ensure they were working properly, he was systematically abusing them for his own financial gain.

The riggings

Tipton rigged a total of six lotteries in five states between 2005 and 2011. He did so by secretly installing software that enabled him to select the winning numbers. Unable to purchase tickets himself due to his status as a lottery employee, he recruited others to purchase tickets using numbers he himself had selected.

Among these recruits were his brother Tommy Tipton, a former judge, and businessman Robert Rhodes. They would cash in the winning tickets and then split the jackpot with Tipton.

Crimes uncovered

A 2010 Hot Lotto prize that went unclaimed for almost a year led to the Tipton’s eventual arrest. The Iowa Lottery looked into anonymous claims being made and their investigations led them to Tipton, who was arrested on two charges of fraud: the first was for illegally trying to partake in a lottery game as a Multi-State Lottery Association employee and the second was for using fraudulent means to claim a prize.

Comments from the authorities

In seeking the 25-year prison sentence for Tipton, Rob Sand, Assistant Iowa Attorney General, remarked that ‘such crimes cannot be answered without a prison sentence’. He also expressed the opinion that Tipton’s fraudulent actions could well have a lasting negative effect on the industry, with consumers potentially less likely to place their trust in lottery systems.

On the other hand, Sand has acknowledge that the information Tipton revealed about how he rigged the computer system could be used for improving lottery security.

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