Authorities have announced that an information security director for a lottery vendor allegedly tampered with computer equipment in order to claim a $14.3 million jackpot.
Since 2003, Eddie Raymond Tipton, 51, of Norwalk worked as information security director for Multi-State Lottery Association, an organization that “handles the day-to-day functions in multi-state games on behalf of many U.S. lotteries, including the Iowa Lottery,” according to a news release from Iowa Lottery.
Tipton was barred from purchasing a lottery ticket due to the nature of his job under Iowa law.
“We’re disappointed to learn that someone who has worked as a vendor in the lottery industry has been charged in this case,” Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said at the news conference.
“At the same time, we’re gratified that the thorough procedures and protocols we’ve developed to protect the security and integrity of our games worked to prevent the payment of a disputed prize.”
In court documents released last week, prosecutors allege Tipton used his position to tamper with computers used to generate the lottery numbers. These computers are stored in a room enclosed in glass that is accessible only by two people at a time, and is monitored by a video camera.
On November 20, 2010, Tipton accessed the room to ostensibly change the computers’ dates. The camera that day recorded only one second a minute, as compared to running continuously like normal.
“Four of the five individuals who have access to control the camera’s settings will testify they did not change the camera’s recording instructions,” prosecutors wrote.
“The fifth person is defendant. It is a reasonable deduction to infer that defendant tampered with the camera equipment to have an opportunity to insert a thumb drive into the RNG tower without detection.”
About a month later on December 23, 2010, Tipton purchased the winning lottery ticket at a QuikTrip near Interstate Highway 80. This ticket went unclaimed for almost a year until a mysterious company based in Belize tried to claim the prize through a NY attorney. The attorney later withdrew his claim, however.
Tipton was was later arrested on January 15, 2011, and charged with two counts of fraud. If convicted, he could face five years in prison and a fine of $7,500 for the ticket he never claimed.
Tipton’s trial is set to begin this week.