DES MOINES, Iowa — A Texas businessman has pleaded guilty to fraud and admitted to helping lottery computer technician Eddie Tipton cash jackpots in a multi-state number-fixing scheme that netted $2 million.
Robert Rhodes pleaded guilty in a Des Moines courtroom Monday. Iowa prosecutors will seek two years of probation.
Rhodes says he helped Tipton try to cash a $16.5 million 2010 Iowa Hot Lotto ticket but suspicious officials never paid.
Rhodes agreed to testify against Tipton and his brother, Tommy Tipton. They're charged in Iowa for tinkering with computers to make lottery numbers predictable in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin games. They deny the charges.
Rhodes says he'll also plead guilty in Wisconsin where he'll likely get six months in jail and a requirement to repay $391,500, half of a 2007 Megabucks jackpot.
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.
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$14.3 million Hot Lotto prize claim withdrawn, Jan. 27, 2012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
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
Third suspect surrenders in national lottery rigging scandal, Apr. 28, 2016
Lottery scam investigation comes to Tennessee, May 11, 2016
Investigators find another friend of Tipton who cashed rigged lottery prize, May 11, 2016
Convicted computerized drawing fraudster argues Iowa court appeal, Jun. 16, 2016
US Senate panel demands info in lottery scandal, Jun. 22, 2016
Lottery rigging trial to be moved out of Des Moines, Jun. 27, 2016
Eddie Tipton's new trial delayed until 2017, Jul. 1, 2016
Iowa court reverses part of Tipton's lottery fraud conviction, Jul. 28, 2016
Internal investigation concludes Tipton acted alone to rig lottery drawings, Aug. 10, 2016
Prosecutors say 2 more men may be linked to lottery riggings, Aug. 24, 2016
Judge: winner's lawsuit in lottery-fixing case can continue, Oct. 13, 2016
Alleged lottery scandal conspirator to enter new plea, Nov. 14, 2016
Accused lottery rigger Eddie Tipton facing new Wisconsin charges, Dec. 22, 2016
(Click to display full-size in gallery) Robert Rhodes, of Sugar Land, Texas, right, faces a judge with his attorney Joseph Cahill as Rhodes enters a plea in Polk County District Court Jan. 9, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa. Rhodes pleaded guilty to a fraud charge and admitted to participating in a scheme to help his friend, Eddie Tipton, a lottery computer technician in Iowa, cash jackpots after Tipton figured out a way to predict numbers for certain games in several states including Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.