Think winning the lottery is pure luck? If your name is Eddie Tipton, you certainly don’t. The former security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association has already been convicted of fixing the lottery (and then winning it) in Iowa, but now, authorities believe that Tipton may have been involved in many more scandals across many more states. Investigators are now looking into whether or not Tipton tampered with lotteries in a whopping 37 other states or territories over the last 12 years.
Tipton’s long-running scheme involved the installation of a piece of malicious software known as a root kit, which allowed the gambler to determine the lottery’s winning numbers beforehand. To collect on the jackpots, Tipton would have friends and accomplices buy the “lucky” ticket. But at some point, the ex-security director became careless, and ended up purchasing the winning ticket himself (which is obviously a big no-no). What’s more, he decided to buy the lotto ticket near the Multi-State Lottery Association’s headquarters, making it all the easier to catch him red-handed.
Thus far, officials are pretty confident in Tipton’s involvement in schemes across four states over the course of six years, during which he picked up a cool $8 million. But now, they’re extrapolating even further. “It would be pretty naive to believe they are the only four” jackpots involved, Thomas H. Miller, the former Iowa deputy attorney general who led the investigation for two and a half years said. “If you find one cockroach, you have to assume there are 100 more you haven’t found.”
Tipton’s lawyer, however, insists that his client is being falsely accused of these additional fraudulent actions. “There’s just absolutely no evidence whatsoever that he did anything to alter the proper operations of the computers that were used to pick those numbers, absolutely no evidence. It’s just all speculation,” attorney Dean Stowers said.
For their part, lottery officials are viewing the entire debacle as a very serious wake-up call. “This is kind of an eye-opener,” said Oklahoma Lottery director Rollo Redburn. “It reaffirms the fact that we’ve got to be constantly vigilant against people trying to defraud the system.”