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Third suspect surrenders in national lottery rigging scandal

Apr 28, 2016, 3:43 pm

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A third man charged in a still-unfolding, multi-million dollar lottery rigging scandal investigation surrendered to authorities in Iowa on Thursday, his attorney said.

Robert Clark Rhodes II was arrested last spring in his home state of Texas by authorities there, after Iowa prosecutors charged him with two counts of fraud for helping a then-top lottery security official allegedly rig multiple jackpot drawings.

Rhodes challenged the arrest in court, claiming investigators did not have sufficient proof to arrest him, but earlier this month a judge rejected that argument, paving the way for today's voluntary surrender. Rhodes was held on $10,000 bond and was expected to be released after processing, his attorney said.

"After speaking with [Iowa] prosecutors, we flew up last night and Mr. Rhodes surrendered at the Polk County jail this morning," said attorney Terry W. Yates.

"Struck By Lightning"

In an announcement last year that sent shockwaves through the industry, the Iowa Attorney General's office charged that the man responsible for securing America's lottery jackpot drawings secretly rigged the system — and cashed in on at least five jackpots in various states since 2005.

They said that Eddie Raymond Tipton, long-time director of information technology security at the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), netted millions by manipulating computer software, donning disguises and either playing the right numbers himself, or passing along the right combinations to friends and family. MUSL is a non-profit that helps states run their lotteries, including picking the numbers and maintaining security for games in 37 states.

Investigators claim that they have tied Tipton to the winning tickets in at least six jackpots, all of them drawn on either November 23 or December 29 between 2005 and 2011. Tipton's attorney Dean Stowers has insisted his client is innocent of all charges.

For a dozen years prior to his arrest in 2015, Tipton, now 53,was the IT director at MUSL, and led a team that wrote the software programs that generated random numbers for many of the games. He was convicted last July of rigging a $16.5 million Iowa jackpot in 2010. At trial, the lead prosecutor, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Rob Sand showed jurors video of the winning ticket being purchased at a convenience store on the outskirts of Des Moines, by a man wearing what authorities suggested may have been a fat suit and fake beard.

Prosecution witnesses subsequently identified the man as Eddie Tipton.

The odds of winning a $16.5 million prize, one expert has noted, are "akin to being struck by lightning while at the same time being eaten by a shark."

Multi-State Rigging Schemes

Tipton was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fraud. He is appealing the verdict as he awaits a second trial this summer.

In the upcoming trial, Tipton is charged with ongoing criminal conduct and money laundering for allegedly rigging lottery jackpot drawings in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma. His younger brother, Tommy Tipton was charged earlier this year with participating in the alleged Colorado drawing scheme.

The winning ticket for a December, 2007 Wisconsin lottery drawing was cashed in by a limited liability company controlled by Rhodes, according to court papers. Prosecutors also charge that he was involved in ultimately unsuccessful efforts to cash the $16.5 million Iowa jackpot.

When Tipton was convicted last summer, prosecutors were not yet aware that he was Rhodes's friend and former college roommate.

For decades, lotteries in the U.S. have generally been judged to be trustworthy, experts say, and the so-called central "Draw Room" hidden inside MUSL's innermost sanctuary, is designed to reflect that faith. The computer is housed inside a glass-walled chamber with a surveillance camera trained on it 24 hours a day. It can only be accessed by two people at a time. It's not connected to the Internet or other networks, and only five people can get inside.

That's how, authorities say, Tipton was able to slip into the chamber and slide what they believe was a thumb drive containing an undetectable, self-destructing piece of malware that generated pre-specified numbers at a given time.

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.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

NBC, Lottery Post Staff

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11 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by pickone4me.
Page 1 of 1
LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
Green Bay
United States
Member #169383
October 15, 2015
2863 Posts

He won 5 jackpots in various states since 2005?  Yea, as his lawyer stated...."He's innocent".  LOL

Never give up.  Banana

    United States
    Member #32651
    February 14, 2006
    9674 Posts

    But MUSL still uses an RNG (probably the same computer) and apparently all these arrests make them sleep better at night.

      TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
      Brooklyn, NY
      United States
      Member #169716
      October 29, 2015
      1583 Posts

      He (Eddie Tipton) got greedy and he got caught.

      The Evil Looking made him do it.

      The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

      “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

      Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

        sully16's avatar - sharan
        United States
        Member #81738
        October 28, 2009
        101472 Posts

        The plot thickens. How many more are there.?

        Happy National Sisters Day. Love

          * In hot pursuit of $ *
          White Shores- California
          United States
          Member #136471
          December 12, 2012
          6829 Posts

          Like fishermen would say " if we want a lot of fish all at one time,  we will go after sardines,  if  we looking for quality- we want the Big Ones" The authorities just bagged another marlin. 

           * Voice of Reason *   

          * People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

            music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
            Fresno, California
            United States
            Member #157849
            August 2, 2014
            3959 Posts

            As the Ancient Romans would say, "Who guards the guard?"

             Julius Caesar paid with his life when his guards failed to protect him from the Senators.

             "Et Tu Brutus" , "Beware the Ides of March".

            "Carpe Diem" Seize the Day

            Vini, Vichi, Vidi  I came, I saw, I conquered.

             "We are all in this together!" 

              Akron, Ohio
              United States
              Member #145641
              August 10, 2013
              39 Posts

              I bet it's a whole lot more fake winners!!! I also bet there's more rigging on the second place prizes. Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey all showing unrealistic patterns and it's almost always simultaneously.

                Bellingham, WA
                United States
                Member #86466
                February 4, 2010
                44 Posts

                Will the real LAW'S please stand up and be counted to protect the many who play this game legally! Federal Law's should be US Flagpassed to make all states bring back the number ball's!!!

                  United States
                  Member #172408
                  January 23, 2016
                  3795 Posts

                  Another white guy hahahah

                    LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
                    Green Bay
                    United States
                    Member #169383
                    October 15, 2015
                    2863 Posts

                    Another white guy hahahah

                    LottoQueen you're too funny.

                    Never give up.  Banana

                      pickone4me's avatar - lightbulb
                      United States
                      Member #104957
                      January 23, 2011
                      1153 Posts

                       Remember all those states that "people" win in too often, I wouldn't be surprised if the very same thing is going on.