Authorities investigating a $14.3 million Hot Lotto win from 2010 have arrested an Iowa Lottery employee who they say illegally played the game and asked others to claim the prize for him.
Norwalk, Iowa resident Eddie Raymond Tipton, 51 and a director of information security for the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) which runs Hot Lotto and Powerball, has been charged with two felony counts of fraud after a former co-worker tipped off the authorities. It is claimed that Tipton is the man caught on video, with his head covered by a hood, buying the winning ticket from a convenience store, with the license plate of a vehicle in the parking lot at the time also linked to him.
Suspicions were raised in 2011 when the prize was claimed close to the cut-off date by Crawford Shaw, a New York attorney. Although the ticket was valid, MUSL refused to pay out after Shaw failed to name the person who had actually purchased the ticket. He claimed to be acting on behalf of a trust registered in the tax haven of Belize and later withdrew his claim, although Shaw is said to have been helping authorities with their enquiries.
With the only claim on the prize withdrawn, the $14.3 million prize expired and was split between the states which participate in Hot Lotto, with the Iowa Lottery using its cut for a special promotion in 2012.
It is claimed that Tipton contacted two men in Texas, one of whom he had attended school with, who in turn reached out to Shaw and a Canadian man who then created the Belize trust. The identity of the ticket purchaser remained a mystery, leading to a police appeal in October 2014 which included the release of the convenience store tape that led to the tip-off. Voice analysis was undertaken by agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, along with further investigations which led to Tiptonâ€™s arrest.
Tipton is currently being held at the Polk County Jail on a cash-only bond of $10,000.