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Investigators find Tipton's software code to rig computerized lottery drawings

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Investigators find Tipton's software code to rig computerized lottery drawings
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Last remaining defense shattered as investigators find and decipher jackpot rigging code

A lottery vendor for years manipulated drawings to enrich himself and associates by installing software code that allowed him to predict winning numbers on specific days of the year, Iowa investigators alleged Wednesday.

Authorities called the newly obtained forensic evidence a breakthrough in the investigation of alleged jackpot-fixing scheme by Eddie Tipton, former security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. A jury convicted him last year of rigging a $16.5 million jackpot, and he's awaiting trial on charges linking him to prizes in Colorado, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against his younger brother, Tommy Tipton, a former justice of the peace and reserve police officer in Texas. He surrendered to authorities and was released on bond. He's charged with ongoing criminal conduct related to his role in securing the Colorado and Oklahoma jackpots, which allegedly netted him $1.2 million in cash.

The case has rocked the Multi-State Lottery Association, an Iowa-based nonprofit that administers Powerball and other games for states.

Prosecutors had alleged Eddie Tipton tampered with random number generators that were used by the association and state lotteries to pick jackpot winners. But their case had been based on circumstantial evidence because the generators had been erased or destroyed. Tipton's defense has cited the lack of evidence as a reason charges should be dismissed.

Documents filed Wednesday show Wisconsin authorities recovered the random number generator used for a $2 million Megabucks jackpot claimed in 2008 by Tipton's friend, Robert Rhodes. He is fighting extradition from Texas to Iowa, where he faces charges.

A forensic examination found that the generator had code that was installed after the machine had been audited by a security firm that directed the generator not to produce random numbers on three particular days of the year if two other conditions were met. Numbers on those days would be drawn by an algorithm that Tipton could predict, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent Don Smith wrote in an affidavit.

All six prizes linked to Tipton were drawn on either Nov. 23 or Dec. 29 between 2005 and 2011.

Investigators were able to recreate the draws and produce "the very same 'winning numbers' from the program that was supposed to produce random numbers," Smith wrote

Eddie Tipton was charged last year after authorities released surveillance footage of a person buying the winning ticket for a $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot and hot dogs at a Des Moines gas station in 2010. Colleagues identified the buyer as Tipton, a computer whiz who had unparalleled access to lottery software.

Tommy Tipton, 51, testified at his brother's trial, saying the buyer looked nothing like his sibling. Besides, he said, Eddie doesn't like hot dogs.

But months later, Tommy Tipton resigned his elected judicial position in Flatonia, Texas, after his brother was convicted and his name surfaced in the case.

The complaint filed Wednesday says that Tommy Tipton came under scrutiny in 2006, when Texas investigators received a tip that the judge had $500,000 in cash in consecutively marked bills.

He told them he got the money after winning a share of a $4.5 million Colorado Lotto jackpot, saying he recruited a friend to claim the $569,000 cash payout because he didn't want his wife to know about it while they were considering divorce.

Investigators didn't know then that Tipton's brother wrote and installed the program that Colorado Lottery officials used to draw the numbers.

In 2011, Tommy Tipton purchased numbers that would win a $1.2 million Hot Lotto jackpot while traveling in Oklahoma, the complaint said. A relative of one of Tipton's friends claimed the $644,000 prize, which was returned to him.

Tipton's attorney, Randy Schaffer, said he was reviewing the allegations and didn't want to address their merits. But he said he "took the high road" by surrendering rather than fighting extradition.

"This is a guy who, until a few months ago, was a judge," he said. "He's going to hopefully... be professional and responsible in his dealings."

Timeline of the biggest crime in US lottery history

The following is a compilation of Lottery Post news coverage chronicling the Hot Lotto mystery and subsequently discovered crime.

We start the timeline with a news story indicating that only 3 months remained for the $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot to be claimed.

AP, Lottery Post Staff

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34 comments. Last comment 8 months ago by RJOh.
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rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
Texas
United States
Member #55889
October 23, 2007
5615 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 7, 2016, 8:44 am - IP Logged

Another nail in the coffin.

CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

    Avatar
    New Member
    Maryland
    United States
    Member #155454
    May 19, 2014
    13 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: April 7, 2016, 8:51 am - IP Logged

    Now, if they would just start using balls, instead of the rng, I might start buying Hot lotto Tix again.

      rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
      Texas
      United States
      Member #55889
      October 23, 2007
      5615 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 7, 2016, 9:03 am - IP Logged

      Now, if they would just start using balls, instead of the rng, I might start buying Hot lotto Tix again.

      I Agree!

      I'll play MM and PB because they are ball drawn, but the minute they go to RNG and I'm done.

      I actually never could figure out why Hot Lotto is RNG, and PB and MM are ball drawn.

      CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

      A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
        Member #9
        March 24, 2001
        19831 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 7, 2016, 10:27 am - IP Logged

        I Agree!

        I'll play MM and PB because they are ball drawn, but the minute they go to RNG and I'm done.

        I actually never could figure out why Hot Lotto is RNG, and PB and MM are ball drawn.

        I doubt if MM and PB had used a RNG either of them would have been added by as many states as they have.

         * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
           
                     Evil Looking       

          LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
          Green Bay
          United States
          Member #169391
          October 15, 2015
          1249 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 7, 2016, 11:07 am - IP Logged

          Just as in any other crime, for every criminal they catch many more get away with it.

          Never give up.  Banana

            TnTicketlosers's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg

            United States
            Member #71120
            February 19, 2009
            1209 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 7, 2016, 11:47 am - IP Logged

            He's not the only one doing it,he just got caught...Check the rest of the states...I bet 3/4 of the ones is scammers with him.If people would stop playing the lottery,there might be a change.I did in Tennessee,it's hard yes it is but worth it when you can say to yourself,thats one more dollar she's not getting and laugh out loud.lol

              lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

              United States
              Member #118609
              November 4, 2011
              939 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 7, 2016, 1:40 pm - IP Logged

              This story has finally hit the national news, was on CBS morning show. 

              Greed seemed to have overtaken Tipton, couldnt just leave it alone for a one time win.  Now its widespread and involved many more people.  How many of these scenes are being played right now we dont even know about?  Yet? 

              The brother, a Judge, another crook, yikes.

                cbr$'s avatar - maren
                Cordova,Al.
                United States
                Member #104482
                January 15, 2011
                4941 Posts
                Online
                Posted: April 7, 2016, 2:18 pm - IP Logged

                Last remaining defense shattered as investigators find and decipher jackpot rigging code

                A lottery vendor for years manipulated drawings to enrich himself and associates by installing software code that allowed him to predict winning numbers on specific days of the year, Iowa investigators alleged Wednesday.

                Authorities called the newly obtained forensic evidence a breakthrough in the investigation of alleged jackpot-fixing scheme by Eddie Tipton, former security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. A jury convicted him last year of rigging a $16.5 million jackpot, and he's awaiting trial on charges linking him to prizes in Colorado, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Kansas.

                Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against his younger brother, Tommy Tipton, a former justice of the peace and reserve police officer in Texas. He surrendered to authorities and was released on bond. He's charged with ongoing criminal conduct related to his role in securing the Colorado and Oklahoma jackpots, which allegedly netted him $1.2 million in cash.

                The case has rocked the Multi-State Lottery Association, an Iowa-based nonprofit that administers Powerball and other games for states.

                Prosecutors had alleged Eddie Tipton tampered with random number generators that were used by the association and state lotteries to pick jackpot winners. But their case had been based on circumstantial evidence because the generators had been erased or destroyed. Tipton's defense has cited the lack of evidence as a reason charges should be dismissed.

                Documents filed Wednesday show Wisconsin authorities recovered the random number generator used for a $2 million Megabucks jackpot claimed in 2008 by Tipton's friend, Robert Rhodes. He is fighting extradition from Texas to Iowa, where he faces charges.

                A forensic examination found that the generator had code that was installed after the machine had been audited by a security firm that directed the generator not to produce random numbers on three particular days of the year if two other conditions were met. Numbers on those days would be drawn by an algorithm that Tipton could predict, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent Don Smith wrote in an affidavit.

                All six prizes linked to Tipton were drawn on either Nov. 23 or Dec. 29 between 2005 and 2011.

                Investigators were able to recreate the draws and produce "the very same 'winning numbers' from the program that was supposed to produce random numbers," Smith wrote

                Eddie Tipton was charged last year after authorities released surveillance footage of a person buying the winning ticket for a $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot and hot dogs at a Des Moines gas station in 2010. Colleagues identified the buyer as Tipton, a computer whiz who had unparalleled access to lottery software.

                Tommy Tipton, 51, testified at his brother's trial, saying the buyer looked nothing like his sibling. Besides, he said, Eddie doesn't like hot dogs.

                But months later, Tommy Tipton resigned his elected judicial position in Flatonia, Texas, after his brother was convicted and his name surfaced in the case.

                The complaint filed Wednesday says that Tommy Tipton came under scrutiny in 2006, when Texas investigators received a tip that the judge had $500,000 in cash in consecutively marked bills.

                He told them he got the money after winning a share of a $4.5 million Colorado Lotto jackpot, saying he recruited a friend to claim the $569,000 cash payout because he didn't want his wife to know about it while they were considering divorce.

                Investigators didn't know then that Tipton's brother wrote and installed the program that Colorado Lottery officials used to draw the numbers.

                In 2011, Tommy Tipton purchased numbers that would win a $1.2 million Hot Lotto jackpot while traveling in Oklahoma, the complaint said. A relative of one of Tipton's friends claimed the $644,000 prize, which was returned to him.

                Tipton's attorney, Randy Schaffer, said he was reviewing the allegations and didn't want to address their merits. But he said he "took the high road" by surrendering rather than fighting extradition.

                "This is a guy who, until a few months ago, was a judge," he said. "He's going to hopefully... be professional and responsible in his dealings."

                Timeline of the biggest crime in US lottery history

                The following is a compilation of Lottery Post news coverage chronicling the Hot Lotto mystery and subsequently discovered crime.

                We start the timeline with a news story indicating that only 3 months remained for the $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot to be claimed.

                Eddie Tipton's case is still circumstantial. What can show is the the one and only 
                random generation used in his case. Only he had access to this generator &
                Software. No, one else ever had access to this generator & software. 
                As far as Forensic evidence . How many other peoples DNA, finger prints was on the
                generator & software? Have they all been account for. When did they have access to
                these thing?  There is still room for reasonable doubt. Just my opinion.
                  RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                  mid-Ohio
                  United States
                  Member #9
                  March 24, 2001
                  19831 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 7, 2016, 3:05 pm - IP Logged

                  "All six prizes linked to Tipton were drawn on either Nov. 23 or Dec. 29 between 2005 and 2011.

                  Investigators were able to recreate the draws and produce "the very same 'winning numbers' from the program that was supposed to produce random numbers," Smith wrote"

                  Sounds like he never removed the subroutine that allowed him to win if the drawings results could be predicted on those two dates for six years.  I would have thought those extra lines of code would have showed up when outside sources did their security checks else the routine was part of the RNG.  I remember when Tennessee first used its RNG for pick3/4 games it wouldn't pick doubles or triples because of a subroutines in the program.

                   * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                     
                               Evil Looking       

                    psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

                    United States
                    Member #4877
                    May 30, 2004
                    5124 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 7, 2016, 4:45 pm - IP Logged

                                Thanks   LOTTERY POST   Insider Buzz

                        The LOTTERY POST has always been "out front"  reporting  the disgrace RNG draws bring to the lottery and the excuses every state

                    uses for their  "it will save us money" introductions,   They should know by now that cheap don't  git what all lottery players  require,

                    "HONESTY"  more  "HONESTY"  total  "HONESTY"  and  "SECURITY"  in each and every lottery game.    NO MORE RNG drawings  XXX XXXX

                                                                                                                                Dupe Alert    Dance   Drum   Dance   Dupe Alert

                      Raven62's avatar - binary
                      New Jersey
                      United States
                      Member #17843
                      June 28, 2005
                      49835 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 7, 2016, 5:00 pm - IP Logged

                      Now, if they would just start using balls, instead of the rng, I might start buying Hot lotto Tix again.

                      Ball Drawn Games can be Rigged Too!

                      A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

                        music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
                        Happy California
                        United States
                        Member #157856
                        August 2, 2014
                        1522 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 7, 2016, 6:13 pm - IP Logged
                        Eddie Tipton's case is still circumstantial. What can show is the the one and only 
                        random generation used in his case. Only he had access to this generator &
                        Software. No, one else ever had access to this generator & software. 
                        As far as Forensic evidence . How many other peoples DNA, finger prints was on the
                        generator & software? Have they all been account for. When did they have access to
                        these thing?  There is still room for reasonable doubt. Just my opinion.

                        I Agree! Eddie's case is on appeal by a higher court.  I do not know if he can be retried on the same charge.

                         I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

                         Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

                          Avatar
                          NY
                          United States
                          Member #23835
                          October 16, 2005
                          3475 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 7, 2016, 6:22 pm - IP Logged

                          "All six prizes linked to Tipton were drawn on either Nov. 23 or Dec. 29 between 2005 and 2011.

                          Investigators were able to recreate the draws and produce "the very same 'winning numbers' from the program that was supposed to produce random numbers," Smith wrote"

                          Sounds like he never removed the subroutine that allowed him to win if the drawings results could be predicted on those two dates for six years.  I would have thought those extra lines of code would have showed up when outside sources did their security checks else the routine was part of the RNG.  I remember when Tennessee first used its RNG for pick3/4 games it wouldn't pick doubles or triples because of a subroutines in the program.

                          "I would have thought those extra lines of code would have showed up when outside sources did their security checks"

                          Of course it would show up. That's what makes this so bizarre, and such an indictment of the security procedures that failed to discover the tampering.

                          "drawn on either Nov. 23 or Dec. 29 between 2005 and 2011."

                          That's 6 years and a month, as an absolute minimum. Does that mean it went undetected for 6 full years, or was he able to reinstall it over and over? Either way, it seems obvious that the software wasn't audited often enough.

                          I'd like to see more details on how the code was "recovered" by Wisconsin. Was a machine in Wisconsin altered as well as the one(s) in Iowa, or was an Iowa machine transferred to Wisconsin (and not audited before being placed in service)?  Did Wisconsin have a copy of the software or a disk image from that time? The latter could be part of a good security policy, but not as useful as it could be when you only check it 7 years  later. If they are saving disk images I'd think the investigators would have been looking for exactly this kind of evidence a long time ago, and should have had it in time for the trial.

                          "Sounds like he never removed the subroutine"

                          There could be a disk image that includes the code even if it was removed or deleted from the machine it was installed on. Removing it would require actively deleting it or having it deleted by other software on the machine. The other software could be a completely independent of the code that generated the predictable numbers, or it could be part of he same code. Either way it can't delete anything if the program doesn't run, and therefore execute the code. If the code executes when a drawing is conducted at 11:00PM on a Friday night copying the code or creating a disk image any time before 11 would give you a source that will retain the code unless the program is run. Since the entire purpose would be to document the exact code that existed at that time you'd never run the program.

                            Avatar
                            NY
                            United States
                            Member #23835
                            October 16, 2005
                            3475 Posts
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                            Posted: April 7, 2016, 6:25 pm - IP Logged

                            I Agree! Eddie's case is on appeal by a higher court.  I do not know if he can be retried on the same charge.

                            He can't be tried  again on the same charge, but he can be tried for anything he wasn't already tried for. Prosecutors frequently manage to try people again by coming up with a different set of charges for the same crime. In this case they  may have a lot of new crimes to choose from.