Iowa man convicted of lottery rigging gets parole

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Former lottery computer programmer Eddie Tipton speaks during his 2017 sentencing hearing at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP File Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa – A man serving a 25-year prison sentence for rigging computers to win lottery jackpots for himself, friends and family will be released from an Iowa prison after serving nearly five years, but he could be forced to return to prison in another state if he does not pay the required restitution.

The Iowa Board of Parole granted Eddie Tipton release on Jan. 20 for his good behavior, and he will be allowed to live in Texas, according to a board document.

Tipton pleaded guilty in 2017 to continuing criminal conduct and was ordered to repay $2.2 million in ill-gotten winnings to lotteries in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma. He shared part of the restitution obligation with his brother in Texas, Tommy Tipton, who collected part of the winnings.

An Iowa jury also convicted Eddie Tipton of trying to withdraw $16.5 million from a rigged Iowa lottery game in December 2010, but the Iowa Supreme Court in 2017 overturned the decision, saying the state took too long to prosecute him.

Eddie Tipton owes no restitution in Iowa because Iowa lottery officials never paid him for the Hot Lotto ticket he attempted to redeem in December 2010 after suspected misconduct. He also accepted a plea deal in Wisconsin that requires him to pay back $409,600 to that state. Court documents from 2019 show Eddie Tipton paid $463 and still owed the state $409,137.

In Wisconsin, Eddie Tipton must compensate the state by the end of his sentence. His four years in prison were served concurrently with the Iowa sentence, but he has parole to complete in Wisconsin, which would end in September 2026. If he hasn’t paid the full his restitution by then, a judge could order him to return to prison there. , according to information provided by Wisconsin officials to Iowa prosecutor Rob Sand, who was an assistant attorney general who prosecuted the Tipton case.

“Eddie may be done with that term, but under his plea deal, he has to get restitution to avoid serving more time in Wisconsin. I wish him well in achieving that,” Sand said. .

The 2019 document shows Eddie Tipton still owed more than $568,300 to Colorado, $643,700 to Oklahoma and $30,700 to Kansas in restitution. It is unclear whether he could be sent back to prison if he did not pay restitution in those states.

Eddie Tipton worked at an organization in Urbandale, Iowa, that provided random number drawing computers to several lottery states. Investigators said he installed a code on lottery computers that allowed him to predict winning numbers on certain days. He, his brother and others played the numbers he predicted and claimed winnings.

Tommy Tipton was sentenced to 75 days in jail in Texas and ordered to pay part of the restitution in some states.

Eddie Tipton, during his sentencing hearing in Iowa in 2017, told the judge that he “wrote software that included code that allowed me to understand or technically predict winning numbers, and I gave these numbers to other people who then won the lottery and shared the winnings with me.”

It is unclear what happened to the money that Eddie Tipton and his associates won between 2005 and 2011. Of the seven known winning tickets that have grossed over $2.2 million, Eddie Tipton claimed to have finished with only $351,000.

Eddie Tipton, 58, filed a lawsuit in state court, claiming he was forced to plead guilty. He also alleges that Iowa officials have charged him with restitution in states over which he has no jurisdiction, and he says he cannot pay.

Assistant Attorney General William Hill asked a judge in November to dismiss the case, saying the lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations and should be dismissed as frivolous. Hill also said that by filing the lawsuit, Tipton violated the terms of his plea agreements and that the violation “opens up the opportunity for all jurisdictions to reinitiate criminal charges against him. A trial is scheduled for August 17. .

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