An Iowa computer programmer had the “keys to the kingdom,” when it came to having complete access to the lottery computers that would spit out the winning jackpot numbers, according to a lottery official. Eddie Tipton’s job was to program computers used for picking the winning lottery numbers for several states.
The 54-year-old helped write the code for these computers, but for six years he was adding his own code into the mix. He programmed several computers so he would know what numbers would be pulled on a certain date. Then his brother and friend would go play those numbers and cash the tickets that had allowed the men to pocket a fortune by the time it came to a screeching halt.
This went on for six years as Tipton continued to work at Multi-State Lottery Association, which is a business based in Iowa that provides the number-picking computers for the lotteries in 33 states. He was able to install a code into several machines to pull certain winning numbers on designated dates.
He programmed the computers for some of the biggest lottery games like Powerball, Mega Millions, and Hot Lotto. They cashed in over $2 million while working this scam. They once had a $14 million winner, but that was the one that tipped off lottery authorities. In all, they had the winning jackpot for seven big games in five different states.
After hitting his first big rigged jackpot in Colorado in 2005, Eddie Tipton began building himself a house in Des Moines. This place had a movie theater and gym and it sat on 22 acres with a pond. According to CNBC News, “over the course of the next six years, Tipton would go on to fix six more lottery games across five states.”
The mastermind of this ploy worked at the company from 2003 until 2015, seemingly enjoying the fruits of his ill-gotten labor. Not only did Tipton work at his job while repeating these scams, he was promoted to head of the computer security for the last two years at Multi-State Lottery Association.
According to CNBC News, Eddie Tipton was the “mastermind” and it was back in 2013 when Tipton was promoted to head of information security. This job placed him “in charge of protecting the lottery computer systems he had been cheating.”
Talk about a great position to be in while orchestrating this scam. People across the social media sites were amazed, peeved, outraged, and in awe. Some even wanted their lottery money back because of Tipton’s ploy. The mastermind is now looking at some elaborate jail time. He did convey in court how truly sorry he is for doing this. From the majority of the reports, they suggested that he sounded sincere in his remorse.
Tipton said his friend and brother would split the winnings with him, keeping Tipton himself out of the lottery claim location. It wasn’t until the lottery officials got suspicious that the ploy was over for the three men.
When Tipton’s brother, Tommy Tipton, and his friend, Robert Rhodes, went to cash a $14 million winning lottery ticket that they bought in 2010, the Iowa State Lottery people got suspicious. They didn’t pay the claim.
Up until this point, Eddie Tipton had fixed the games, which included, Colorado Lotto in November 2005, Megabucks in Wisconsin in December 2007, 2by2 in Kansas and Hot Lotto in Iowa in December 2010, and Hot Lotto in Oklahoma in November 2011.
This lottery computer programmer is now looking at up to 25 years in prison, despite the request from his lawyer to put him on probation. Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand, who prosecuted the case had something to say about the probation request. Sand said the following.
“I think when you’re an insider who abuses your position of trust and privilege you should expect to see the inside of a jail cell.”
Even though Eddie Tipton is facing up to 25 years, he is likely only to do two or three years in the case. He has agreed to pay back the $2.2 million dollars to the four states with the rigged computers that he collected his winnings from. While that was noble, it is not quite understood where he will get that kind of money to do so.
His brother Tommy Tipton was given 75 days in a Texas jail after pleading guilty to theft charges and the friend, Robert Rhodes, is expected to get probation when he is sentenced in this case later in the week.
Any of the equipment that Eddie Tipton touched was removed and Iowa State Lottery CEO Terry Rich said, “we continue to look ahead and make sure we have those checks and balances in place as we proceed.”
[Featured Image by Frank Fiedler/Shutterstock]