Crime Lottery rigger pleads guilty, faces up to 25 years

15:51  13 june  2017
15:51  13 june  2017 Source:   USA TODAY

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Former Multi-State Lottery Association security director Eddie Tipton leaves the Polk County Courthouse after being found guilty of fraud on Monday, July 20, 2015.© Brian Powers/The Register Former Multi-State Lottery Association security director Eddie Tipton leaves the Polk County Courthouse after being found guilty of fraud on Monday, July 20, 2015.

DES MOINES — Eddie Tipton, the former security chief accused of rigging lottery drawings in several states, could face up to 25 years in prison under a plea agreement worked out with prosecutors in Iowa and Wisconsin.

The agreement released Monday shows Tipton will plead guilty to three felony charges in Iowa and Wisconsin for his central role in a six-year scheme that prosecutors say allowed him, brother Tommy Tipton and a close friend to cash in on lottery drawings in Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado.

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"All of the states agreed that this is a good resolution," Assistant Iowa Attorney General Rob Sand, the prosecutor on the case, said Monday during a meeting with reporters.

Tommy Tipton is expected to plead guilty to theft charges in Iowa and could serve 75 days in jail.

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The document calls for the brothers to pay back $3 million in restitution. Sand declined to answer questions about the brothers' ability to make payments, citing the still-pending plea hearings for both men.

Eddie Tipton, 54, formerly worked as the information security director for the Urbandale-based Multi-State Lottery Association that administers games like Powerball, Megamillions and Hot Lotto nationwide.

Investigators contend that Tipton's insider access allowed him to manipulate computers so that he could determine the winning numbers if a drawing met certain conditions, including certain days of the year and week.

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Tipton was exposed and first arrested in 2015 after an investigation into a now-infamous attempt to cash a $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot using a ticket purchased by a hooded figure at a Des Moines QuikTrip. Lottery officials in Iowa and elsewhere recognized Tipton as the ticket purchaser.

Tipton appeared in a Wisconsin courtroom at 2 p.m. Monday to plead guilty to charges of theft by fraud and computer crime. Under the terms of the agreement, both prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that Tipton should be sentenced to serve somewhere between three to four years in prison and another five years of "extended supervision" following his release.

The former lottery official will be under the custody of the Iowa Department of Corrections, meaning a sentence would be served in a prison here.

Tipton will plead guilty in Iowa to a felony count of ongoing criminal conduct. Sand will recommend a maximum 25-year prison sentence. The agreement allows Tipton to serve the Wisconsin sentence at the same time he is serving any prison time in Iowa. A hearing is scheduled in Iowa for June 29, court records show.

There is no mandatory minimum sentence that Tipton has to serve before being eligible for parole, Sand said Monday.

The agreement requires Tipton to give lottery officials "truthful testimony of all facts related, directly or indirectly, to their actions to fix, win and claim lottery jackpots." Investigators have agreed not to charge either Tipton brother with any new crimes based on information they learn through the interviews.

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