Lottery scammer Eddie Tipton pleaded guilty in Wisconsin this week to charges of theft and computer crime, part of a plea bargain that will see him him reveal precisely how he was able to rig lottery draws successfully in multiple states over a six year period.
The deal, worked out with prosecutors in Wisconsin, will also require Tipton to plead guilty at an upcoming trial in Iowa and a civil judgment in Kansas. Nevertheless, he still faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
He and his brother, Tommy, an accomplice, will also be required to pay $3 million in restitution to the lottery company.
It’s a surprise move for the former Multi-State Lottery (MUSL) security chief, who has protested his innocence since his arrest in January 2015.
Not-so-random Number Generator
In his capacity as head of security for MUSL, Tipton built and installed the random number generators used in the draws. But prosecutors believe that he employed a self-destructing hack to rig the numbers at the MUSL’s headquarters in Iowa.
They also believe he tampered with surveillance cameras so that the installation went unseen.
Investigators who examined the random number generator for the Wisconsin random number generator concluded it contained two extra bits of coding that instructed it to produce Tipton’s numbers on just three days of the year.
All six jackpots known to have been claimed by Tipton or his associates were drawn on either 23 November or 29 December between 2005 and 2011.
Eddie Tipton to come clean over Hot Lotto fraud, pleads guilty to theft.
Tipton was caught after being recognized by colleagues at MUSL as a man seen on surveillance footage seen buying a winning ticket for the $16.5 million Hot Lotto draw at a gas station in Des Moines. Police released the footage after lottery officials became suspicious when various mysterious figures attempted to claim the prize anonymously.
He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in September 2015 for fixing the Iowa Hot Lotto jackpot but was freed on bond pending appeal. As well as Iowa and Wisconsin, Tipton is suspected of rigging draws in Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas.
“Mr. Tipton’s actions defrauding the lottery were a gross violation of the public’s trust and confidence,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, who praised “efforts to find truth and seek justice.”
The Tiptons will be required to reveal “all facts related, directly or indirectly, to their actions to fix, win, and claim lottery jackpots,” although they won’t face any new charges based on these testimonies.