Former Lottery Worker Found Guilty of Fraud

July 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Lottery News

Eddie Raymond Tipton, a former Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) employee accused of rigging a Hot Lotto draw to win $14.3 million, has been been found guilty of fraud. As the security director for MUSL, Tipton was not allowed to play the lottery or claim any prizes, but it was alleged that he bought a ticket for the draw in question in December 2010 and later had a friend try to cash in the money. Tipton pleaded not guilty to all charges, but a jury took just five hours to reach its decision and he now faces a lengthy prison sentence.

Prosecutors argued that Tipton had not only played the lottery but had also fixed the draw to make sure that he would win by tampering with the system. It was claimed that his position at the MUSL gave him the opportunity to install a rootkit to override the machine that generates the winning numbers, and that he changed the camera settings to record footage of the draw room at a rate of one second per minute to give him enough time to pull off the feat.

Tipton’s defence lawyer dismissed the theory that the computer had been manipulated and also insisted that he was not the man seen in a surveillance video showing the moment the ticket was purchased at a Des Moines store on 23rd December 2010. It was argued that Tipton was clean-shaven when the entry was bought and the person in the film had a beard, while there were witness testimonies from his family members suggesting he had different mannerisms than that of the man in the video.

However, other witnesses agreed with the prosecution that the man in the footage looked like, acted like and sounded like Tipton, while a licence plate in the store’s parking lot was also linked to Tipton. The case had already begun to arouse suspicions back in 2011, when a New York attorney named Crawford Shaw came forward to claim the money on behalf of a Belize-based corporation. He had the winning ticket but refused to identify who had bought it and the claim was later withdrawn, with no money paid out.

Assistant Attorney General of Iowa Rob Sand is happy the jury has now found Tipton guilty, telling Channel 13 News: “I think that we had a very strong case of circumstantial evidence, so even though there was not direct evidence in the terms of what we can actually show about the computers since it had been wiped clean, they were still able to understand from all of the circumstances, the defendant’s guilt.”

Tipton will be sentenced in September and could go to prison for up to ten years, although his lawyer Dean Stowers says there will be an appeal and does not expect the verdict to stand.