Iowa investigators are looking at a couple in Texas as they continue to try and unravel the mystery behind $14.3-million Hot Lotto Jackpot that was first claimed and then abandoned. New York lawyer Crawford Shaw brought the winning ticket to Iowa Lottery Headquarters in December of 2011 hours before the ticket was to expire saying he represented an investment trust, but then backed off claiming the prize when lottery officials requested more information.
Iowa Assistant Attorney General, Thomas H. Miller, has been working with the DCI in the investigation and says they got information on the case from a Canadian who was given what’s called “use immunity.” “Which grants to any witness the protection that we won’t use anything they tell us against them in a court of law,” Miller told Radio Iowa. “It doesn’t grant them any concessions with regard to any potential legal exposure.”
The information from that witness led them to Texas. “We were able to obtain the identities of pair of individuals in Houston, Texas who are involved in the history of the ticket,” Miller says. Miller says they are trying to get more information out of the Texas individuals.
“We have been in efforts to visit with them and will continue — not only direct but whatever indirect investigation we can — to establish how they came about the ticket and to fill out the complete history of this ticket,” Miller says. The jackpot was worth $10.75 million in a cash payout. It was never paid out and the money went back to the states involved.
Miller says the Iowa Lottery requested the investigation to try and determine if there was any violation of Iowa’s fraud law. The prohibits any falsification or fraud in an attempt to redeem a lottery ticket. “It’s a clearly odd that anyone would forgo over 10-million dollars merely to protect their identity in connection with a 10-million-dollar lottery ticket,” according to Miller. “The backgrounds of the individuals are such that one’s suspicions are raised.”
Miller was asked if they are getting close to pressing charges against the individuals in Houston and if there are any other people believed to be involved with the ticket.
“I can’t tell you,” Miller replied. Officials said earlier that they have surveillance video of the ticket being purchased, but have not released the video due to the ongoing investigation.