STATE LOTTERY FRAUDSTERS TO FACE CHARGES IN WISCONSIN (Update)
2007 computer scam back in the headlines.
Our readers may remember the case back in 2007 when Eddie Tipton, an IT administrator with the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa, was accused of rigging lottery results so that a friend could benefit.
The scam has multi-state repercussions, with Tipton facing four felony counts of computer crime.
Those charges have now been augmented by racketeering and theft by fraud charges laid this week by the state of Wisconsin – one of the state lotteries involved – alleging that Tipton and a friend, Robert Rhodes, illegally and fraudulently benefitted to the tune of $780,000 from the rigging of the MegaBucks lottery game.
According to an Associated Press news agency report, the court filing claims that Tipton modified computer data so he could pick a winning number for the December 29, 2007, Wisconsin Megabucks draw.
Tipton's job was to write software designed to randomly pick numbers for lottery computers used for various games by 37 state and territorial lotteries.
A state investigator says Rhodes confessed the scheme, explaining that Tipton recruited him to help win jackpots and gave him a series of numbers to play. Rhodes took the numbers and then purchased winning lottery tickets from various lottery outlets across Wisconsin.
Rhodes further alleged that Tipton had asked him to repeat the scam three years later in 2010, and he participated at a lower intensity. Later he discovered that one of the numbers Tipton had given him, but which he had not bet on, had won another Megabucks jackpot.
Rhodes claimed that the following year Topton showed him an Iowa Hot Lotto ticket that had hit the $16.5 million jackpot, telling him that he was thinking of having his brother, Tommy Tipton, cash it for him but he was concerned that Tommy had already won a 2005 Colorado jackpot.
Although Rhodes attempted to get the ticket cashed through people he knew, he wasn't successful because Iowa Lottery officials grew suspicious.
Tipton's legal representatives have said that he looks forward to defending himself against the Iowa state charges next year, when he and his brother Tommy will appear separately. Eddie Tipton has already been convicted of a separate lottery fraud, and faces an additional charge of money laundering in Iowa.
Rhodes, 48, is scheduled to enter into a plea agreement with Iowa prosecutors next month and is expected to testify at the Tiptons' Iowa trials.
Iowa prosecutor Rob Sand alleges the conspiracy involving the three men netted more than $2 million in winnings from two 2005 Colorado lottery tickets, the 2007 Wisconsin MegaBucks ticket, two 2010 Kansas 2by2 tickets and a 2011 Oklahoma Hot Lotto ticket.