Hot Lotto Fraud Mastermind Eddie Tipton Parole Revoked Days Before Release
Posted on: April 11, 2022, 04:21h.
Last updated on: April 13, 2022, 10:04h.
Tipton was the subject of a “major discipline” in prison, according to Iowa Board of Parole Chairman Andrew Boettger. Although unspecified, it was enough for the board to walk back its January 20 decision to grant the Texas native his liberty.
Tipton was almost five years into a 25-year prison sentence when the board granted him parole for good behavior. They determined there was “a reasonable probability” he was not a danger to the community or himself.
The unassuming Dungeons and Dragons geek was convicted in 2017 of grand theft and computer crime. A former head of security at the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) in Iowa, Tipton confessed to rigging the Hot Lotto draw at least five times in five states between 2005 and 2011.
As part of his parole, he was prohibited from profiting from his notoriety. His former employer requested this condition, which included a ban on seeking book deals and movie rights for his story and accepting paid speaking engagements.
Tipton was part of the team that built the random-number generators for MUSL. He secretly installed self-destructing malware that allowed him to predict the winning numbers on three days of the year. He was also accused of tampering with surveillance cameras to conceal the crime.
The first known fraudulent claim occurred in Colorado, a $4.8 million jackpot on November 23, 2005. That prize had three winners. One was an associate of Tipton’s brother, Tommy Tipton.
Tommy Tipton was a magistrate judge in Fayette County, Texas, and enthusiastic bigfoot hunter. Conveniently, he happened to be in Colorado pursuing his bigfoot obsession at the time and was able to arrange for a friend to claim the money.
The final “win” was the biggest and also Tipton’s undoing. In 2011, lottery officials became suspicious about an aborted attempt to claim a $16.5 million jackpot via a legal firm within days of the ticket’s expiration.
When officials examined security video from the Des Moines convenience store where the ticket had been purchased almost a year earlier, they were shocked to see their colleague, Eddie Tipton.
In police interviews, Tipton claimed he was overworked and undervalued by his employer. He also said he had warned them repeatedly about security flaws in the system, which he says they did not take seriously.
Tipton was ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution to state lotteries. He argues in a state lawsuit that Iowa authorities charged him for restitution in states where they had no jurisdiction. He also says he doesn’t have the money.
Tipton claims he netted just $351,000 from the scheme. It’s not clear what happened to the rest of the money.
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