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Lottery-scamming brothers avoid asset seizures by transferring property to their mother

Apr 29, 2019, 9:50 pm

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By Jason Clayworth

Two brothers who were behind the largest lottery scam in U.S. history and owe more than $2.3 million in unpaid restitution and court fees recently transferred several properties they owned to their mother.

The transfers from Eddie and Tommy Tipton have raised further questions about why four states — Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin and Colorado — have yet to seize their properties.

It has been about two years since the brothers admitted their role in a scam that hijacked lottery computers and for years accurately predicted the "random" numbers in drawings across the nation.

Eddie Tipton is in an Iowa prison for up to 25 years. But Tommy Tipton, a former Texas magistrate, has served his 75-day jail term and retains his longtime residence in Flatonia, Texas. The home — which was transferred in 2013 to a trust owned by Tommy and his now ex-wife — has a pool and a market value of almost $780,000, property records show.

"If you asked anyone locally, it's been pretty apparent the Tiptons are doing just fine and able to afford quite a lifestyle," said Sandra Kimball, a Texas resident who was friends with Tommy Tipton's girlfriend Jennifer Luce, whose January death remains under investigation.

Eddie Tipton is a former security chief of the Multi-State Lottery Association, headquartered in Urbandale, Iowa. In 2005 he devised a computer code replicated on as many as 17 state lottery systems that for years allowed him to predict the so-called random computer draws in games played in multiple states.

Eddie Tipton admitted that he gave winning numbers to multiple associates, including his brother.

The scheme went undetected until Eddie Tipton in 2010 was captured on a Des Moines convenience store video camera purchasing a $16.5 million Hot Lotto ticket. Authorities began investigating after multiple attempts were made to collect the jackpot anonymously. The Hot Lotto win was never paid.

Tommy and Eddie Tipton pleaded guilty to felony crimes related to the rigging scheme in June 2017 and agreed to repay $2.2 million in restitution plus other costs to Colorado, Kansas, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

So far less than $1,300 has been repaid. At the current rate, Oklahoma estimates it will be fully reimbursed in 190 years.

Land records first published by the Des Moines Register about four months ago show Tommy and Eddie Tipton own almost $2 million in Texas property. No state had taken action to seize the land before the Register's first review and that hasn't changed, according to court records and interviews conducted in April with officials from each state.

Some state officials now say legal quagmires could further delay or end any possibility that the properties will be seized.

Officials say it's unclear which state or organization is best to take the lead to pursue property seizure and how the restitution would be divvied up, since some of the games defrauded by the Tiptons are owned and played by multiple states.

Those issues are being mulled by the Multi-State Lottery Association and its members, said Jay Finks, deputy director of the Oklahoma Lottery.

The prospect that states will choose not to pursue property seizure against the Tiptons "is always a possibility," Finks said. "What are the legal costs for states to pursue this? I don't think that's been determined yet."

Iowa Auditor Rob Sand, a former state prosecutor who helped convict the brothers, contends the procedure to acquire the properties should be easy legal lifting because of the plea deal the brothers made with Iowa prosecutors.

The two agreed in that deal to consent to judgments against any property in their name or for property held for them via associates or family members.

"It's just ridiculous. I'm literally shocked," Sand said. "If I was a taxpayer of somewhere like Oklahoma, I would be pounding at my government's door right now."

Tommy Tipton said he was having a hard time as "a single dad, raising three kids on a very limited income with lots of bills," when he briefly spoke with the Register on Nov. 23.

The deeds to two of the brothers' properties were transferred to their mother, Lawanda Tipton, on Nov. 27, records show.

Tommy Tipton declined to comment for this article.

Lawanda Tipton told the Register she purchased the properties — which include a house, a mini storage facility and almost 68 acres in Fayette County, Texas — because Tommy Tipton needed money for lawyers.

The properties last year had a combined market value of about $390,000.

Lawanda Tipton, 75, lives in Missouri City, Texas, about two hours from the properties. She declined to say how much she paid or what she plans to do with the properties.

"He needed money for lawyers and I bought them. That was it," she said.

Allen Weise, a Tipton critic and resident of Flatonia Texas, believes the window of opportunity for states to collect the ill-gotten wins is quickly closing and represents a social injustice.

"You and I, we worry about getting receipts to prove every dime on our tax returns but look at these clowns," Weise said. "Apparently, they don't have to pay what they owe."

What the Tipton brothers owe

Here is what Eddie and Tommy Tipton owe, and each state's response to the Register's inquiries.

In Oklahoma and Colorado, portions of the restitution are considered joint payments owed by both brothers, instead of individually. The amounts listed for those states are total amounts owed.

Oklahoma

  • Amount ordered to be repaid: $644,478 by Eddie and Tommy Tipton
  • Repayment/state response: $532 has been paid. The conversation continues about which states should take the lead on actions that could result in seizing property, said Jay Finks, deputy director of the Oklahoma Lottery.

Colorado

  • Amount ordered to be repaid: $1,137,980 by Eddie and Tommy Tipton
  • Repayment/state response: $470 has been paid. Lawrence Pacheco, director of communications for the Colorado Attorney General's Office, did not respond to inquiries about the state's efforts to collect restitution.

Kansas

  • Amount ordered to be repaid: $125,423 by Eddie Tipton.
  • Repayment/state response: $25.44 has been paid. Iowa court records show Eddie Tipton was ordered to pay $30,806 in restitution. Kansas' Attorney General's Office late last year successfully sought additional action that includes enhanced penalties, court records show. Jennifer Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the office, did not respond to questions about why the state hasn't tried to seize properties.

Wisconsin

  • Amount ordered to be repaid: $409,600 by Eddie Tipton
  • Repayment/state response: $198.12 has been paid by Tipton, said Patricia Mayers, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Lottery.  Robert Rhodes, a friend and accomplice of Eddie Tipton's, paid $345,527 of his $409,600 assessment as of April 11. Judgments against both Tipton and Rhodes cannot be discharged in bankruptcies "so we can pursue them for life and we can ask a judge to extend their imprisonment if they don't repay us," Mayers said.

What the Tipton brothers own

Among Eddie and Tommy Tipton's properties and recent transactions identified in public records, the Register found:

  • HOME WITH A POOL: Tommy Tipton owns his longtime home with a pool in Flatonia, Texas, with a market value of $779,460. He and his now ex-wife, Pamela, in May 2013 transferred that property to a trust — a financial tool sometimes used to protect property from creditors — that remains in their names. The transfer occurred 15 months after the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa Attorney General's Office announced they had launched an investigation into suspicious lottery winnings.
  • BUSINESS OR INVESTMENT PROPERTIES: Tommy Tipton owns at least five other properties in Fayette County, Texas, with a combined market value of $1,354,210. The most valuable parcel includes 100 acres of native pastureland with a market value of almost $401,000; others include a gas station, a house, a mobile home and a commercial building.
  • EDDIE'S HOME GOES TO MOTHER: Eddie Tipton owned a 55-acre parcel with a home near Flatonia, Texas, with a current market value of $365,380. The property was deeded to his mother, Lawanda Tipton, on Nov. 27, 2018.
  • JOINT OWNERSHIP: Tommy and Eddie Tipton jointly own 13 acres of land with a market value of $80,750. They also own mineral rights on another property. On Nov. 27, Lawanda Tipton was deeded a third property they owned that includes a mini-storage site.
  • RECENTLY SOLD: Tommy Tipton sold at least two other Fayette County, Texas, properties since his release from jail. In January 2018, he sold 102 acres of pasture, and in March 2018 he sold a 5.7-acre vacant residential plot. The market values of the properties are listed as $580,730 and $54,490, respectively.
  • RECENTLY PURCHASED: On March 25, 2018 — 11 days after Tommy Tipton sold the 5.7-acre parcel — a home assessed at $36,240 was deeded to his daughter. The mailing address for the property is the same address as Tommy Tipton's pool home. She did not return requests for an interview.

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.

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

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

Des Moines Register

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22 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by ckrakowski.
Page 1 of 2
music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
Fresno, California
United States
Member #157851
August 2, 2014
3862 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 29, 2019, 10:32 pm - IP Logged

 Thank You to Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register. 

 Shine some more light onto these criminals. 

When will COVID-19 be finished?  A vaccine may protect all of us.

    zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
    South Carolina
    United States
    Member #77165
    July 15, 2009
    897 Posts
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    Posted: April 30, 2019, 5:01 am - IP Logged

    Any property or assets  transferred after the charges were made should be subject to seizure. Seems the brothers have friends in high places.

      Avatar
      Simpsonville
      United States
      Member #163184
      January 22, 2015
      2205 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 30, 2019, 9:01 am - IP Logged

      Any property or assets  transferred after the charges were made should be subject to seizure. Seems the brothers have friends in high places.

      I still stand by what I said months ago even though some members shot me down.  Had this been drug dealers, the Feds would have seized all of their assets hands down.  Personally this sickens me to the core.  As for Mom not stating what she paid for the properties, that is public record and certainly the newspaper will find out.

       

      Best part of it for me is they will be convicted felons unless somehow they get 'lucky' to have their records expunged.  Don't see that happening in a million years; too many states involved with these crooks.


        United States
        Member #146362
        September 2, 2013
        1 Posts
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        Posted: April 30, 2019, 3:52 pm - IP Logged

        Is everybody just plain stupid or what? These brothers just proved to us all that every lottery is NOT random, the numbers are predetermined well in advance which means a computer and it's program determines the outcome of "which tickets" win and lose..I'll bet the farm you will have the losing ticket, and anyone who is associated with the crooks that are running the lottery are laughing all the way to the bank.The scam is not on the brothers, hell I commend them, it is on THE SCAMMED PLAYERS. So when you watch the live drawings with those balls floating around the tank, that is the illusion of the magic trick at hand, you see, there is a separate chamber tube with the "predetermined" numbers released into the winning tube making it look like they really came from the "tank of floating balls"..Why do you think every machine is absolutely covered up from every angle? and the components they let you see are all clear plastic!( smoke in mirrors, eh!) Hell, & some states they have witnesses watching the live drawings, and ALL of them are senior citizens who are half blind anyway. Question: why would the lottery need a witness if they already have a third party auditor?. Ahahh! there's the magic trick/deceit. This is how deep the corruption really is in every state lottery. So, the only winners are the states & NOT the poor people who try their luck at a RIGGED SYSTEM.

        Edit Addition..

        Tipton tapped into the computers that showed him what the winning numbers were. He did NOT and could not manipulate the numbers like the real crooks (lottery officials) would have you believe. Because if he did manipulate the numbers on a computer, ask yourself then how the hell did those numbers come out when the numbers are supposed to be REAL TIME RANDOM PLASTIC BALLS?...Typical politicians spinning what they do best... LIE

          winsumloosesum's avatar - Lottery-060.jpg

          United States
          Member #2218
          September 1, 2003
          6464 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 30, 2019, 3:55 pm - IP Logged

          Eddie sure is a big man.  And I do mean BIG man.

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #105308
            January 29, 2011
            479 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 30, 2019, 4:12 pm - IP Logged

            Eddie sure is a big man.  And I do mean BIG man.

            In Flatonia, Texas anyone who owns a $780,000 house is a big man.   And I do mean BIG man.   But if you want to be the physical size of Eddie it's near-certain you'll be a sheriff deputy.

            But you wouldn't expect a guy who figured out how to beat the lotteries to be a little bitty pea-shooter of a guy living in a shotgun shack down in the slave quarters..

            ValidationAll statements made above are accurate, precise, lucid and sometimes supported by factoids written down somewhere.

              Avatar
              Simpsonville
              United States
              Member #163184
              January 22, 2015
              2205 Posts
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              Posted: April 30, 2019, 4:54 pm - IP Logged

              IDK about your state but I assure you this is not the case in KY.  If you want you can witness the drawings here.  I know Chip Polston will back me up on this.  They used my question on the air and demonstrated how they weigh each ball for their drawings.  So your theory is bunk IMHO.

                Artist77's avatar - batman14

                United States
                Member #121741
                January 16, 2012
                7545 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: April 30, 2019, 6:34 pm - IP Logged

                Is everybody just plain stupid or what? These brothers just proved to us all that every lottery is NOT random, the numbers are predetermined well in advance which means a computer and it's program determines the outcome of "which tickets" win and lose..I'll bet the farm you will have the losing ticket, and anyone who is associated with the crooks that are running the lottery are laughing all the way to the bank.The scam is not on the brothers, hell I commend them, it is on THE SCAMMED PLAYERS. So when you watch the live drawings with those balls floating around the tank, that is the illusion of the magic trick at hand, you see, there is a separate chamber tube with the "predetermined" numbers released into the winning tube making it look like they really came from the "tank of floating balls"..Why do you think every machine is absolutely covered up from every angle? and the components they let you see are all clear plastic!( smoke in mirrors, eh!) Hell, & some states they have witnesses watching the live drawings, and ALL of them are senior citizens who are half blind anyway. Question: why would the lottery need a witness if they already have a third party auditor?. Ahahh! there's the magic trick/deceit. This is how deep the corruption really is in every state lottery. So, the only winners are the states & NOT the poor people who try their luck at a RIGGED SYSTEM.

                Edit Addition..

                Tipton tapped into the computers that showed him what the winning numbers were. He did NOT and could not manipulate the numbers like the real crooks (lottery officials) would have you believe. Because if he did manipulate the numbers on a computer, ask yourself then how the hell did those numbers come out when the numbers are supposed to be REAL TIME RANDOM PLASTIC BALLS?...Typical politicians spinning what they do best... LIE

                Hot lotto was a rng game, meaning computer generated numbers. Not a floating ball game. Lol

                Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

                  Avatar
                  Fayetteville, Tennessee
                  United States
                  Member #191997
                  September 1, 2018
                  239 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 30, 2019, 9:30 pm - IP Logged

                  Ive been on to Tn lotto about the rng machines still being rigged! Some higher power needs to get these cheaters. Tipton brothers. Just took the fall !!for all that are in on the rigging! And its way deeper than anyone can see!!!

                    Avatar
                    Maryland
                    United States
                    Member #162429
                    January 2, 2015
                    2167 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: May 1, 2019, 6:23 am - IP Logged

                    Any property or assets  transferred after the charges were made should be subject to seizure. Seems the brothers have friends in high places.

                    I agree, this is INSANE!! Why would they allow this and not go after the properties?  MadWhat?

                    I have often said its simple for the government to put a 'hold' on all your properties with the clerks.  That way the court has to approve any changes.  Kinda like freezing your credit report.

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #105308
                      January 29, 2011
                      479 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: May 1, 2019, 10:55 am - IP Logged

                      It's not directly related,  but I've wondered if what a lot of us have been doing on here for decades wouldn't be illegal if we were successful and if the lottery authorities knew.    Systems to win against casinos on a blackjack table are definitely illegal to use in some states and will get you banned from casinos everywhere if you get caught using them.   They call it 'cheating' if you figure out a way to improve your odds against the house.

                      But the Lottery Systems forum, the Math Forum, even the Mystical forum are magnets for people motivated by the hope of finding a way to win against the house [the State or Multi-State Lottery authorities]

                      If the same laws apply to lotteries as apply to gambling in casinos [seems unlikely in the extreme] we'd all be guilty of criminal conspiracy or whatever other statute applied.

                      In fact, every time a person buys a lottery ticket that isn't a QP there's a fair likelihood he's trying to beat odds one way or another.

                      ValidationAll statements made above are accurate, precise, lucid and sometimes supported by factoids written down somewhere.

                        KY Floyd's avatar - lysol avatar.jpg
                        NY
                        United States
                        Member #23834
                        October 16, 2005
                        4246 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: May 1, 2019, 2:49 pm - IP Logged

                        "Any property or assets  transferred after the charges were made should be subject to seizure."

                        I agree that they should be, but they're not. There are plenty of laws allowing you to recover money from somebody that owes you money for one reason or another, but there are also laws that let people make their assets untouchable, while still retaining full control and practical, though not legal, ownership. The trust that owns the home mentioned in the article is one example. The trust is an independent entity, so unless it's the trust that has harmed you there's no legal basis to sue the trust in order to recover any money.

                        Bleudog is right about seizures from drug dealers, as well as people who haven't even been charged with so much as a traffic infraction. Some governments are seizure crazy, but instead of taking steps to recover money that's clearly owed to them the lotteries devote their efforts to keeping the prize money that should have gone to players.

                        "Is everybody just plain stupid or what?"

                        No, but some of the people who post here are.

                        "Systems to win against casinos on a blackjack table are definitely illegal"

                        No they're not and neither are any lottery "systems" that don't involve actual cheating, although there is one major difference between a system like card counting and a lottery system. Card counting actually works.

                          Avatar
                          Chasing $ Millions.
                          White Shores- California
                          United States
                          Member #136473
                          December 12, 2012
                          6211 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: May 1, 2019, 3:17 pm - IP Logged

                          The article says Eddie is in prison for " up to 25 years." I will bet that Eddie is going to be a stellar inmate, crossing all the "t's" & doting the "i's" .Might even take up religion while inside. The makings of a truly rehabilitated individual, walking with angels, so to speak. Gets out in under 15 years & returns to his millions. This guy has it all planned out, and a big Thank You to Ma.After all, that's what Mother's do, look out for their kids.

                           * Voice of Reason *   

                           

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

                            Avatar
                            Kentucky
                            United States
                            Member #32651
                            February 14, 2006
                            8923 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: May 1, 2019, 7:14 pm - IP Logged

                            IDK about your state but I assure you this is not the case in KY.  If you want you can witness the drawings here.  I know Chip Polston will back me up on this.  They used my question on the air and demonstrated how they weigh each ball for their drawings.  So your theory is bunk IMHO.

                            Did you see where 924 was drawn in both the KY's Midday and Evening drawings last Sunday or where 8320 was drawn in the pick-4 last night and 2083 was drawn this afternoon?

                            Not reading anything into it, but it does add fuel to the conspiracy fires.