U.S. Lottery employee Eddie Raymond Tipton was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Tuesday for rigging the system.
The 54-year-old computer programmer helped himself to win jackpots in several states.
Tipton from Texas was arrested in 2015 after showing up with a winning ticket to collect a $14.3 million jackpot.
In a scam running for six years, Eddie and his cohorts netted $2.2 million in three other States, including Colorado, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Tipton, a former information security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), was arrested in 2015 and charged with two counts of fraud for attempting to illegally participate in the lottery, and attempting to use fraudulent means to claim prizes.
MUSL provides Random number generation computer systems for lotteries almost all over the United States including U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Tipton popped in a thumb drive into an extremely locked-down computer that generates the random numbers which determine the lottery winners. He was videotaped while buying a Hot Lotto ticket and went on to win the $14.3m jackpot.
About a month after the tampering of the computers by Tipton, in December 2010, a man was videotaped at a convenience store buying a Hot Lotto ticket, which won the $14.3million pay-out. The man was identified by authorities as Tipton however, being an employee of the association responsible for administering lottery Tipton wasn’t allowed to buy tickets or even claim lottery prizes.
For about a year the winning ticket remained unclaimed and just hours before its expiration time a company integrated in Belize claimed the prize money via a New York attorney. Iowa Lottery rejected the claim since it came from an anonymous party. However, a following an investigation and the videotape of Tipton, he was caught and charged.
He also admitted to sharing the winning numbers with his brother Tommy Tipton and a friend Robert Rhodes. Both culprits have been arrested and charged as well.
“I regret my actions, and I’m sorry for the people I hurt,” said Tipton.
Although Tipton has been sentenced to prison for 25 years he will likely to serve only three to five years in prison due to Iowa law, reports DenverPost. Furthermore, Tipton is also willing to pay back $2.2 million he got by hacking the system however he is not sure from where he will arrange the money.
According to Terry Rich, the CEO of Iowa Lottery said: “Eddie Tipton had the keys to the kingdom and those are the things we changed immediately to make sure any equipment he touched was removed, and we continue to look ahead and make sure we have those checks and balances as we proceed.”
Watch Tipton in the surveillance footage
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