Ex-lottery security officer charged with rigging more games

AP News
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 8:54 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa lottery security officer convicted in July of rigging a Hot Lotto game so he could win a $14 million jackpot faces new allegations that he had close acquaintances cash in on lottery prizes in other states over several years, authorities said Friday.

Eddie Tipton, 52, is charged with ongoing criminal conduct in the tampering of lottery equipment, representatives for the Iowa Lottery and the Iowa Department of Public Safety said. He turned himself in to authorities and was released from a county jail after posting a $25,000 bond.

Nick Sarcone, an attorney representing Tipton, said his client has "voluntarily answered these charges and he's going to fight them."

Tipton, who was convicted in July of two counts of fraud for rigging a computerized Hot Lotto game drawing in 2010, has a brother and a friend who received winnings from lottery games in Colorado and Wisconsin, according to authorities.

A 2005 lottery jackpot in Colorado worth $4.8 million had a payout of more than $560,000 that was claimed by a friend of Tipton's brother, according to authorities who say the brother asked that friend to collect the money on his behalf. A 2007 lottery jackpot in Wisconsin worth $2 million had a payout of more than $780,000 that was claimed by a holdings company owned by a person authorities describe as Tipton's best friend. That person has been linked to Tipton's Hot Lotto case.

Authorities say the additional charge against Tipton, who was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison and is appealing his July conviction, happened after officials received a tip about Tipton's brother and his alleged collection of money from a lottery game in Colorado. That led to the investigation into the Wisconsin winning.

The winnings in Colorado and Wisconsin were through manual play games that generate numbers at random through a system built at the Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association, authorities said. The association, also known as MUSL, is where Tipton was director of information security. In Tipton's Hot Lotto case, he was accused of inserting a program into a computer that picks winning numbers for the game.

Tipton, of Norwalk, had been working for MUSL since 2003 and was promoted to information security director in 2013. As an employee, Tipton was prohibited from playing the lottery in Iowa. He was fired after his January arrest.

Jim Saunders, director of investigative operations at the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said authorities are asking the public for any information about other suspicious lottery game winnings around the country.

"This is now a nationwide investigation that seeks to identify instances where individuals may have taken advantage of personal relationships to perpetrate fraud against the lottery game," he said.

Terry Rich, CEO of the Iowa Lottery and president of the North American Lottery Association, assured the public that lottery games are safe to play and there is no indication that this is more wide scale.

"It truly was a breach of trust and all roads seem to lead to Eddie Tipton," Rich said.

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This story has been corrected to show an additional prize was won in Wisconsin, not Texas.