Convicted lottery rigger continues to plead innocence
By Kate Northrop
Lottery rigging mastermind Eddie Tipton has been released on parole after serving a prison sentence for 4½ years.
In 2017, Eddie Tipton, 58, was sentenced to a maximum 25 years in prison for rigging multiple computerized lottery drawings in several states so he and other accomplices could collect multi-million-dollar jackpots.
In a plea deal, the former lottery security chief also agreed to pay about $2.2 million in restitution for those crimes to the states in which he rigged the drawings, including Colorado, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Kansas. The amount was later reduced to $1.65 million.
Now, the lottery rigger is out on parole after having served less than five years in prison.
In November, Tipton made headlines once more when he released a statement, claiming that he was pressured into pleading guilty and that he did not rig any lottery drawings.
"I certainly regret my actions," Tipton told the court in 2017. "It's difficult even saying that with all the people that I know behind me that I hurt."
At the time of his trial, Tipton's lawyer went on record saying that his client was ready to accept his punishment.
"He looks forward to putting this entire matter behind him and moving on with his life after he serves his sentence," Tipton's lawyer, Dean Stowers, had said prior to his sentencing.
It seems that the lawsuit Tipton filed in January 2020 led somewhere, since the Iowa Board of Parole has approved the release of the former information security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.
Tipton's lawsuit attempted to halt all restitution he was ordered to pay until a new trial is held. At that trial, he said, he would have the opportunity to present documents and evidence that could persuade the court to reverse his sentence.
Upon pleading guilty, Tipton explained how he rigged the lottery drawings, saying that he "wrote software that included code that allowed me to understand or technically predict winning numbers, and I gave those numbers to other individuals who then won the lottery and shared the winnings with me."
His lawsuit, however, backpedals on the admission of guilt, which he says he was pressured to make.
"The sentence is cruel and unusual because it has been applied to an actually innocent person simply to see that he is charged with a crime," Tipton says in the lawsuit.
In addition to being coerced to plead guilty, he argues that Iowa did not have the authority to charge him for restitution in states it has no jurisdiction over.
According to the Iowa Board of Parole, the board members concluded that there was "a reasonable probability" Tipton could be released without posing a threat to the general public or himself.
The Board's online database shows that he was released to Texas and will be supervised by parole officials there.
A new trial is scheduled for Aug. 17.
Terry Rich, who was the CEO of the Iowa Lottery at the time of the scandal, told the Iowa Capital Dispatch that he was not surprised by the Board of Parole's decision.
"In any major crime — whether it's murder, assault or robbery — most people don't get closure," Rich said. "My bottom line was that we would get closure with him admitting that it happened, and that all three defendants confessed and said how they did it. That was my bottom line. The number of years in the sentence — I left that to the court and for the parole board to decide, and I am fine with those decisions."
And although Tipton is now claiming innocence despite having admitted guilt, Rich said the feeling of closure isn't diminished.
"Whether he's got a good case or not, that is the fight of the current lottery group and the attorney general," he continued. "I wanted to do whatever it took to figure out who did this, and I think that was our step in this process."
For a full play-by-play of the Eddie Tipton story, you can check out Lottery Post's video on the biggest lottery scandal on history on YouTube.
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
- Man files lawsuit over rigged lottery jackpots, Jan. 4, 2017
- Trials for Tipton brothers charged in lottery scandal delayed, Jan. 8, 2017
- Former MUSL official received severance amid lottery jackpot scandal, Jan. 10, 2017
- Texas man pleads guilty to fraud in lottery scandal case, Jan. 11, 2017
- Iowa Supreme Court hears lottery rigging case, Feb. 14, 2017
- Kansas files lawsuit against accused lottery rigger, Mar. 16, 2017
- Best friend to testify against Tipton at July lottery rigging trial, Mar. 31, 2017
- Mastermind of lottery fraud will explain how he rigged jackpots, Jun. 12, 2017
- FBI missed rigged jackpot in 2006 before lottery scheme grew, Jun. 19, 2017
- The 5 lottery jackpots Tipton and his friends stole, Jun. 20, 2017
- Lottery jackpot rigger's Iowa convictions dismissed, Jun. 23, 2017
- IT'S OFFICIAL: Tipton pleads guilty to rigging computerized lottery drawings, Jun. 29, 2017
- Lottery rigging accomplice used Wisconsin payout for offshore tax scam, Jul. 6, 2017
- Hot Lotto multi-state lottery game to end in October, Aug. 9, 2017
- Lottery rigging mastermind sentenced to 25 years in prison, Aug. 22, 2017
- Winner sues Colorado Lottery 12 years after rigged drawing, Oct. 5, 2017
- Lottery scammer rigged more drawings than first thought, records show, Feb. 19, 2018
- How a gaming geek with a checkered past pulled off the biggest lottery scam in U.S. history, Mar. 16, 2018
- Infamous lottery scammer says US computerized lottery drawings remain fatally flawed, Mar. 19, 2018
- Iowa Lottery wins International Gaming-Compliance award for work in lottery rigging investigation, Apr. 19, 2018
- The man who cracked the lottery, May 3, 2018
- Memo: Iowa Lottery kept selling games after security warning, Aug. 1, 2018
- Investigation finds lottery scamming Tipton brothers have repaid virtually nothing, Dec. 27, 2018
- Lawyers seek to depose lottery fraud mastermind in prison, Jan. 21, 2019
- Iowa lottery lawsuit granted class action, affecting 7.2 million tickets in 19 states, Jan. 28, 2019
- Colorado man who unwittingly split a $4.8M jackpot with scammer is fighting the Colorado Lottery, Apr. 15, 2019
- Lottery-scamming brothers avoid asset seizures by transferring property to their mother, Apr. 29, 2019
- Lottery winner can seek bigger prize at trial, judge rules, May 17, 2019
- Court rejects Colorado man's claim to full $4.8M lottery jackpot he unwittingly split with scammers, Jun. 21, 2019
- Lottery losers could get paid after lottery scam lawsuit settles for $4.3 million, Jul. 22, 2019
- Journalist faces subpoena in lawsuit over lottery scandal, Aug. 28, 2019
- Lawyers drop request for author's lottery scandal book notes, Aug. 28, 2019
- Website now accepting claims in $4.3 million lottery scam settlement, Sep. 9, 2019
- MUSL settles lawsuit with man who won Hot Lotto jackpot marred by rigging, Nov. 26, 2019
- MUSL paid $1.5 million to settle lawsuit over rigged jackpot, Dec. 9, 2019