Jul 15

Hot Lotto Fraud Trial Hears Witness Testimonies

The trial of a former Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) employee accused of rigging a Hot Lotto draw has heard from witnesses on both sides during the first few days in court. Eddie Raymond Tipton is being tried on two counts of fraud, having been arrested in January on suspicion of buying a Hot Lotto ticket and later claiming a prize. As the security director for the MUSL at the time of the draw in question in December 2010, he was not not allowed to play the game or win any money.

The trial was originally scheduled to go ahead in April but was pushed back three months following a dramatic late twist, when prosecutors filed 500 pages of new material alleging that Tipton had tampered with a number generator in order to win $14.3 million. The prize went unclaimed until just before it was due to expire, when an attorney from New York came forward on behalf of a Belize-based corporation. The claim was later withdrawn and Iowa authorities launched an investigation.

Tipton has pleaded not guilty to all charges and his defence team maintains that he is not the man seen in surveillance footage showing the moment the ticket was purchased at a Des Moines convenience store. Denise Tipton, Eddie’s sister, testified this week to say the person in the video was not her brother, telling the court: “Several reasons just the general size for one, shoe size for another — never seen him wear a hooded jacket, never has he had a beard.” Defence lawyer Dean Stowers has argued that Tipton was clean-shaven at the time the ticket was bought, when he claims to have been visiting family in Texas.

Kathy Renaud, a Multi-State Lottery Association employee, had earlier told the prosecution that Tipton has facial hair ‘not most of the time, but 50 per cent probably’. She said she had not immediately recognised the man in the footage as Tipton but ‘when I heard the audio of the video, it was Eddie’. Renaud also testified to Tipton’s expertise of the computer equipment, with the prosecution claiming that he would have had the opportunity to install a rootkit to override the machine that generates the winning numbers.

Tipton’s case is reported to be the first of its kind when somebody has been accused of manipulating a lottery draw. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin on Friday morning and Tipton will later learn his fate as a long-running saga which has gripped America moves towards a conclusion.

by Mike Redfern
Updated July 17th, 2015

Apr 15

Hot Lotto Steps up Security as Rigging Trial Delayed

The trial of a former lottery employee has been put back three months following fresh allegations that he fixed the results of a Hot Lotto draw to win $14.3 million. Eddie Raymond Tipton had been charged with two counts of fraud in January after being arrested on suspicion of buying a Hot Lotto ticket in December 2010.

As the information security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), Tipton was forbidden from playing the lottery or claiming any prizes, but it is alleged that he bought a ticket in Iowa which went on to win the jackpot. Nobody came forward to claim the prize until just before the cut-off date almost a year later, when New York attorney Crawford Shaw presented the ticket on behalf of an investment company based in Belize.

Shaw later withdrew his claim after refusing to name who had bought the ticket, and mystery continued to surround their identity until video footage was released in October 2014 of the moment when the customer at a Des Moines store is thought to have made his purchase. Police were able to match a licence plate in the store’s parking lot to Tipton and his trial was set to start on Monday.

However, the case took a new twist when prosecutors filed 500 pages of new material alleging that Tipton had tampered with a number generator. It is alleged that he entered the ‘draw room’ on 20th November 2010 and installed a rootkit programme on the lottery operator’s system, which allowed him to control which numbers came up and would later self-destruct. The court documents, reported by the Des Moines Register, also allege that Tipton had changed the camera settings to record footage at a rate of one second per minute instead of running around the clock as normal.

Security measures have since been stepped up at the MUSL headquarters, and there is now a system in place to check for rootkits to ensure there could never be a repeat of the alleged incident.

Tipton has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His legal team argue that it cannot be proven that the man shown in surveillance footage was Tipton, and that at least two other lottery workers had access to the draw room. The trial is now scheduled to begin on Monday 13th July.

by Mike Redfern
Updated April 17th, 2015

Jan 15

Authorities Arrest Iowa Lottery Employee over Mystery $14.3 Million Hot Lotto Win

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 Tipton’s arrest.

Tipton is currently being held at the Polk County Jail on a cash-only bond of $10,000.

by Mike Redfern
Updated January 16th, 2015