Eddie Tipton, a 54 year-old computer programmer working for the Iowa offices of the Multi-State Lottery Association, was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison with possibility for parole in three or four years for operating a multi-state lottery fraud scheme that involved “rigging random drawing jackpots,” reports The Des Moines Register.
“I certainly regret my actions,” said Tipton in Polk County District Court. “It’s difficult even saying that with all the people I know behind me that I hurt, and I regret it. I’m sorry.”
Because he had easy access into the system, Tipton installed software to manipulate winning numbers in lottery drawings. The fraud went on for years before it was detected and Tipton arrested in 2015.
“… the lack of interest in actually examining the program being used to pick these numbers is kind of alarming, really,” said Tipton’s lawyer, Dean Stowers, regarding the reasons the scam went on for so many years without being identified.
He was caught after attempting to collect a $16.5 million Hot Lotto ticket from 2010. Iowa was not the only targeted state, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma also fell victim to the scheme.
“It is indeed unfortunate that you did not use that intelligence to prosper by legal means,” said District Court Judge Brad McCall. “Instead you chose an illegal path.”
Tipton did not act alone. He was helped by his brother Tommy Tipton, a former Texas judge, and businessman Robert Rhodes. The Tipton brothers have to give back $3 million.