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.

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