Sep 15

Eddie Tipton Sentenced to 10 Years for Hot Lotto Fraud

Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) worker who was convicted of trying to rig the Hot Lotto game in 2010, was this week sentenced to ten years in prison. He was found guilty in July on two counts of fraud, following accusations that he tampered with lottery equipment to determine the winning numbers, before buying a ticket and attempting to get acquaintances to collect the prize, even though his job with MUSL meant he wasn’t allowed to play the game.

He was said to have inserted a ‘rootkit’ program into the Hot Lotto draw computer to predetermine the numbers. The program then self-deleted so it could avoid detection, with Tipton covering his tracks by tampering with security cameras.

Iowa resident Tipton’s job at MUSL, which also administers the huge Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries, was to ensure that no one could cheat the game, leading to Judge Jeffrey Farrell referring to his crime as “about as large an invasion of trust as I can possibly imagine”. In passing sentencing, the judge explained that this had been one of the major factors in him handing down the maximum term possible.

The Hot Lotto case captured the imagination of the nation after Crawford Shaw, a New York attorney, attempted to collect the $14.3 million prize with just hours to go before it expired in December 2011. Shaw claimed to be acting on behalf of an investment company based in Belize, but withdrew his claim when Iowa Lottery officials demanded he name the ticket’s true owner.

In late 2014, police released security camera footage of the ticket being purchased at a Des Moines Quick Trip store and put out an appeal to trace the man depicted. A number of Tipton’s co-workers confirmed that it was him, with the license plate of a car in the parking lot at the same time also linked to him. Tipton’s lawyer, Dean Stowers, had suggested in an interview with The Daily Beast in July that the person in the video could have been a “skinny man in a fat suit” attempting to frame his client.

Stowers says he and his client will appeal the sentence, claiming Tipton had always been a productive member of the community and that no one had suffered any financial loss from the scheme.

by Mike Redfern
Updated March 30th, 2016

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

Oct 13

New Leads in Mystery of $14.3 million Hot Lotto Jackpot

Thursday October 10 2013 – New leads have been uncovered this week in the mysterious case of the bogus $14.3 million Hot Lotto jackpot claim dating back to December 2010. Investigators on behalf of the Iowa Lottery, who are trying to unravel the complex story, travelled to Canada to interview a man who has been granted immunity from prosecution and who has identified a couple from Texas as being involved in the ‘history of the ticket’.

The Story…

The story began back on December 29 2010 when one ticket won the $14.3 million Hot Lotto jackpot. Almost a year went by without the winner coming forward, until suddenly, just two hours before the ticket was due to expire, the winning ticket was delivered to the Iowa Lottery headquarters.

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich, with the winning ticket giving a press conference the day after it was sent in.

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich, with the winning ticket giving a press conference the day after it was sent in.

A New York attorney named Crawford Shaw then came forward to file the paperwork on behalf of an investment group named the Hexham Trust based in the tax-haven of Belize.

However, the Iowa Lottery smelt a rat. They refused to pay out the jackpot until Shaw released the names of those behind the Hexham Trust who claimed to own the winning ticket. Shaw refused and in January 2012 withdrew the claim to the jackpot.

Since then, the Iowa Lottery has involved the authorities to help them unravel the mystery behind the case, fearing that the ticket may have been obtained illegally.

“The DCI doesn’t engage in uncovering mysteries for its own sake,” Assistant District Attorney General Thomas Miller told the Quad- City Times on Wednesday. “The fact there is a criminal provision in the Iowa Code relating to fraudulent redemption of lottery tickets is what brings the involvement of DCI.”

The Latest News

This week, investigators working with Miller have followed the trail to a man in Canada who has been interviewed regarding his connection to the case. Although Miller will not reveal details of the information provided by the Canadian man, he did confirm the informant was given immunity from prosecution and that this evidence pointed them towards a couple from Houston, Texas.

“We have been in efforts to visit with them and will continue — not only direct but whatever indirect investigation we can — to establish how they came about the ticket and to fill out the complete history of this ticket,” Miller explained. He went on to say, “The backgrounds of the individuals are such that one’s suspicions are raised.”

Miller refused to confirm whether they were close to pressing charges against the Texan couple – and if they were, what those charges would be.

Also this week, officials confirmed they have the surveillance video of the winning ticket being purchased, although it will not be released to the media due to the on-going investigation.

The case continues. LotteryWorld will bring you the latest on this fascinating story as and when more details are known.

by Sadie Walton
Updated March 29th, 2016