Third suspect surrenders in national lottery rigging scandal
Insider Buzz: Third suspect surrenders in national lottery rigging scandalRating:
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.
- Deadline for claiming $16.5M Hot Lotto jackpot nears, Sep. 21, 2011
- Unclaimed Iowa lottery jackpot to expire Dec. 29, Dec. 1, 2011
- Iowa $16.5M Hot Lotto winner claims prize with two hours to spare, Dec. 29, 2011
- Iowa Lottery security chief bent on determining identity of jackpot winner, Jan. 10, 2012
- NY lawyer in lottery mystery travels to Iowa this week, Jan. 17, 2012
- Iowa Lottery security chief to grill NY lawyer over Hot Lotto ticket, Jan. 17, 2012
- Representative of Hot Lotto winner named in lawsuit, Jan. 20, 2012
- Hot Lotto trust representative won't name winner, Jan. 20, 2012
- Iowa Lottery threatens to deny jackpot payout if winner stays anonymous, Jan. 23, 2012
- Lawyer gives up $14 million Iowa lottery ticket claim, Jan. 26, 2012
- $14.3 million Hot Lotto prize claim withdrawn, Jan. 27, 2012
- Iowa Legislators satisfied with Lottery's handling of mystery jackpot winner, Feb. 1, 2012
- Iowa Lottery to give away millions from jackpot mystery, Feb. 26, 2012
- Iowa Lottery director: 50-50 that Hot Lotto mystery will be solved, Aug. 9, 2012
- Iowa officials trying to solve lotto mystery, may release surveillance video, Aug. 19, 2012
- 1 year later, Iowa Lottery still hunting for suspicious no-show winner, Jan. 30, 2013
- Inquiry in Iowa Lottery mystery touches Canada, Jul. 26, 2013
- Lottery jackpot probe heats up after immunity deal, Oct. 8, 2013
- Iowa Lottery still hunting mystery Hot Lotto winner [video], Oct. 10, 2014
- MUSL employee arrested in Hot Lotto jackpot mystery, Jan. 15, 2015
- BOMBSHELL: MUSL employee might have rigged Hot Lotto computerized drawing, Apr. 13, 2015
- Texas man charged in Iowa lottery case contests extradition, Apr. 20, 2015
- Extradition trial begins this week in $16.5M Hot Lotto fraud case, Jun. 7, 2015
- Inside the biggest lottery scam ever, Jul. 7, 2015
- Trial underway in world's biggest lottery fraud case, Jul. 14, 2015
- Lottery security chief: Rigging computerized game "sadly" possible, Jul. 15, 2015
- Prosecution rests in Hot Lotto trial, Jul. 16, 2015
- Defense quickly wraps up in Hot Lotto trial, Jul. 16, 2015
- Hot Lotto case moves to jury for deliberations, Jul. 17, 2015
- Former lottery security employee guilty of rigging $14.3M drawing, Jul. 20, 2015
- MUSL security worker who rigged drawing gets 10 years, Sep. 9, 2015
- HOT LOTTO DRAWING CHEAT CHARGED WITH RIGGING MORE JACKPOTS, Oct. 9, 2015
- Texas authorities had previously investigated brother of lottery cheat, Oct. 14, 2015
- Another $1.2M Hot Lotto jackpot rigged by Tipton, officials say, Nov. 21, 2015
- Jackpot-fixing investigation expands to more state lotteries, Dec. 18, 2015
- Prosecutors say Tipton rigged two jackpots he purchased tickets for in Kansas, Dec. 21, 2015
- Maine gives names of Hot Lotto winners to Iowa team looking into rigging scheme, Dec. 23, 2015
- S.C. Lottery assures public no computerized drawings used in state, Dec. 23, 2015
- Kansas lottery players questioning game's integrity, Dec. 23, 2015
- MUSL CHIEF OUSTED OVER JACKPOT-RIGGING SCANDAL, Dec. 23, 2015
- Lottery scandal unlikely to affect New Mexico, official says, Dec. 26, 2015
- Tipton granted delay in next trial until July, Dec. 29, 2015
- Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich to answer lottery player questions live Monday evening, Jan. 11, 2016
- First lawsuit in state lottery-fixing scandal seeks millions, Feb. 4, 2016
- MUSL seeks to dismiss lawsuit over rigged jackpot, Apr. 1, 2016
- Lottery scammer's brother facing criminal charges, Apr. 6, 2016
- Investigators find Tipton's software code to rig computerized lottery drawings, Apr. 7, 2016
- Lottery rigging scandal prompts security audit in South Dakota, Apr. 13, 2016
- Preliminary hearing rescheduled for Tommy Tipton in lottery rigging case, Apr. 22, 2016
(Click to display full-size in gallery)
NBC, Lottery Post Staff
We'd love to see your comments here! Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.
11 comments. Last comment 7 months ago by .
October 15, 2015
|Posted: April 28, 2016, 4:19 pm - IP Logged|
He won 5 jackpots in various states since 2005? Yea, as his lawyer stated...."He's innocent".
Never give up.
February 14, 2006
|Posted: April 28, 2016, 7:12 pm - IP Logged|
But MUSL still uses an RNG (probably the same computer) and apparently all these arrests make them sleep better at night.
October 29, 2015
|Posted: April 28, 2016, 10:47 pm - IP Logged|
He (Eddie Tipton) got greedy and he got caught.
The made him do it.
“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!
October 28, 2009
|Posted: April 28, 2016, 10:49 pm - IP Logged|
The plot thickens. How many more are there.?
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?
For a lead role in a cage?
From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"
Bay Area - California
December 12, 2012
|Posted: April 29, 2016, 9:58 am - IP Logged|
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.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.
August 2, 2014
|Posted: April 29, 2016, 10:50 am - IP Logged|
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.
I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better.
Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others
August 10, 2013
|Posted: April 29, 2016, 12:54 pm - IP Logged|
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.
February 4, 2010
|Posted: April 29, 2016, 2:24 pm - IP Logged|
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 passed to make all states bring back the number ball's!!!
January 23, 2016
|Posted: April 30, 2016, 11:59 am - IP Logged|
Another white guy hahahah
October 15, 2015
|Posted: May 1, 2016, 3:06 pm - IP Logged|
Another white guy hahahah
LottoQueen you're too funny.
Never give up.
January 23, 2011
|Posted: May 2, 2016, 8:44 am - IP Logged|
Remember all those states that "people" win in too often, I wouldn't be surprised if the very same thing is going on.