Lottery Employee Accused of Hot Lotto Fraud Has Trial Delayed

April 14, 2015 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

A former lottery worker accused of tampering with a number generator to win $14.3 million has had his trial pushed back until July after prosecutors presented more than 500 pages of new material, along with videos and recordings. Eddie Raymond Tipton was arrested and charged with two counts of fraud in January after he was accused of purchasing a Hot Lotto ticket, which he was barred from doing by law as a lottery employee.

Tipton worked as the information security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) when there was a mystery Hot Lotto winner appeared in Iowa in December 2010. The winning ticket was not claimed for almost a year and then, hours before the expiry date, a New York attorney named Crawford Shaw came forward on behalf of a corporation supposedly based in Belize. The ticket was valid, but Shaw was not paid because he refused to name who had bought the ticket, and he later withdrew the claim, saying that he didn’t know the identity of the winner.

The customer who is thought to have purchased the winning ticket in Des Moines can be seen wearing a dark hood in surveillance footage released last October, but following a tip-off police were able to analyse their voice and match a licence plate in the parking lot of the convenience store to Tipton. As Tipton couldn’t claim cash prizes, it has been alleged that he approached two men in Texas to ask for help in claiming the jackpot anonymously.

In court documents filed last week ahead of the trial, prosecutors have now accused Tipton of allegedly entering a locked room at the lottery association which contained the random number-generating computers. It is alleged that he went into the room on November 20, 2010, a month before the $14.3 million was won, and used software on a thumbdrive to infect the computers and control the winning numbers.

According to prosecutors, cameras on the day in question did not run continuously like they would normally and instead recorded only one second per minute. “Four of the five individuals who have access to control the camera’s settings will testify they did not change the cameras’ recording instructions,” prosecutors wrote in court documents reported by the Des Moines Register. “The fifth person is defendant. It is a reasonable deduction to infer that defendant tampered with the camera equipment to have an opportunity to insert a thumbdrive into the RNG tower without detection.”

Tipton has pleaded not guilty to all charges and his attorney has dismissed the computer tampering theory as not ‘factually viable’. Jury selection was set to begin on Monday, but Judge Jeffrey Farrell has now allowed Tipton’s defence more time to prepare, and the trial has been rescheduled to restart on Monday 13th July.