After new evidence was uncovered of their plot to rig lottery jackpots, charges have been filed against the brother of a former lottery security director by authorities in Iowa.
Felony charges of ongoing criminal conduct were filed against Tommy Tipton on Wednesday by Iowa prosecutors. Tommy is the younger brother of Eddie Tipton, the Multi-State Lottery Association’s (MUSL) former security director. On Wednesday, Tommy Tipton surrendered to authorities and was later released on a $25,000 bond, according to CalvinAyre.
Fifty-two-year-old Eddie Ray Tipton of Norwalk, Iowa was convicted last year of rigging an MUSL computer to produce a set of pre-programmed winning numbers. Evidence produced at trial showed the elder Tipton installed a ‘rootkit’ in the lottery’s random number generator. Eddie Tipton received a 10-year prison sentence for the crime, which he is currently serving while he awaits trial on an ongoing criminal conduct charge of his own.
Tommy Tipton, who until abruptly resigning last year had been a justice of the peace in Texas, had been long suspected of being involved in the scam by prosecutors. He was one of three winners of a Colorado jackpot worth $4.5 million, and a friend of Tipton’s was paid 10% of his share to claim the prize on Tipton’s behalf.
Prosecutors say that now they have been able to reverse engineer the coding installed by Eddie Tipton on the Wisconsin lottery’s random number generator. Don Smith, Iowa Criminal Division of Investigation agent, said that using this code, enabled authorities to recreate the draws, generating the identical numbers that led to Tipton’s jackpots. It is Smith’s claim that if two other conditions were met, the rigging enabled specific sets of numbers to be produced on three specific days of the year. November 23 and December 29 were two of these dates on which the elder Tipton’s six winning prize numbers were drawn between 2005 and 2011.
In 2011, the scam began to unravel when for nearly a year a $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot went unclaimed, at which time an attorney showed up claiming to represent the winning ticket holders, who preferred to remain anonymous. The lawyer failed to convince Iowa Lottery officials to hand over the winnings to him and he then said his clients no longer wanted to claim their prize. Eventually, Tipton was recognized by his co-workers on footage from the security cam at the gas station where the ticket was purchased, which led to his arrest in January 2015.
Tommy Tipton’s friend Robert Rhodes is also being investigated by prosecutors. Rhodes claimed a $2 million jackpot in 2007. He is currently in Texas, fighting extradition to Iowa. Tommy Tipton faces a possible 25-year prison sentence in convicted.