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Mastermind Who Rigged The Lottery For $2.4 Million May Keep Some Of His Winnings

AP / CBS News

The appeal of the lottery is that everyone has a chance to win.

With a little luck and the right numbers, you could land a multi-million dollar jackpot and be set for life.

But if you were playing in any of the 33 states where Eddie Tipton rigged the numbers in his favor, your chances weren't as good as you thought.

A Cushy Job

Until 2015, Tipton was a security director at the Multi-State Lottery Association.

The association runs lottery games in 33 U.S. states, along with D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Tipton in 2014.KCCI

Tipton was making $100,000 a year in a cushy job, managing computer security for the organization.

But he complained that he was overworked and underappreciated by his supervisors.

Never mind the fact that Tipton was lucky to have the job in the first place, because he's a twice-convicted thief.

But his resentment may explain why Tipton rigged the company's random number drawing computer to help him win the jackpot multiple times.

The Fix

Tipton snuck two lines of code into MLA number drawing computer, which allowed him to predict any draws on three days of the year.

On those days, Tipton's odds of picking the lucky numbers were just 200 to 1, instead of the usual 5 million to one.

But Tipton didn't take any chances, buying all 200 sets of numbers to guarantee he would hit the jackpot.

The scheme worked like a charm for years, until Tipton got greedy.

Giving Himself Away

Tipton wasn't afraid to treat himself using his ill-gotten gains.

The computer whiz bought himself a luxurious 4,800-square foot home on a 22-acre plot after his first win.

And he could afford it - investigators can prove Tipton rigged at least six lottery drawings in five states, earning $2.4 million.

Pixabay

That makes him the most successful lottery scammer in American history.

Even massive games like Powerball, Mega Millions and Hot Lotto drawings were influenced by Tipton's rigging.

And he might have made millions more if he hadn't made his only mistake: buying a ticket himself.

The Three Stooges

Tipton worked with his brother, Tommy, and their friend Robert Rhodes to anonymously cash his winning tickets.

They were trying to collect their biggest win yet in 2010, a cool $14 million jackpot, when everything fell apart.

They men tried to use an off-shore trust in Belize to cash in their winning ticket.

Spelling errors and mistakes tipped investigators off that something was wrong.

Soon, footage surfaced allegedly showing Tipton buying the ticket, and investigators soon uncovered the whole truth.

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

Already the three accomplices have pleaded guilty to crimes including fraud, lottery rigging, and computer crimes.

But it's still unclear if they will pay back all of their lottery winnings.

Tipton is put in handcuffs after being sentenced.Des Moines Register

Tipton has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the scheme, but his lawyer expects he will only be behind bars for three or four.

The fraudster apologized for his crimes in court, but insisted he thought the "loophole" he used to win was perfectly legal.

He also claimed he warned MSL to fix the system that allowed him to cheat multiple times, but was always turned down.

Where Did The Money Go?

Court records show that Tipton and his accomplices were savvy investors.

They funneled the money they won into shell companies and investments, then were paid back in tax refunds from the government.

At least $150,000 of their winnings were allegedly stolen by one of the shady insurance companies involved in the scheme.

But prosecutors say there's even more money waiting to be found.

The Tipton brothers have been ordered to pay back $2.2 million in restitution, but an assistant district attorney insists the men still have "significant assets."

What do you think of this case?

[H/T: CBC, CNBC, USA Today]

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