Administrators of the Iowa Lottery are hoping to get more answers as the man who has admitted to tampering with a 2011 Hot Lotto drawing makes an appearance in court Thursday.
The former director of security for the Multistate Lottery Association, Eddie Tipton, is set to plead guilty to a felony count of ongoing criminal conduct after pleading guilty plea to theft by fraud in Wisconsin June 12th.
Iowa Lottery lawyer Rob Porter told the Lottery Board Tuesday the court appearance here will start to bring the case to a close. “The plea deals call for the parties to make various recommendations on criminal sentencing, jail time. Any sort of determinations on that are ultimately in the hands of the judges,” Porter explains. “The judges in Iowa and Wisconsin will ultimately whether Eddie Tipton receives jail time and if so, how much.”
The company Tipton worked for in Urbandale provided the random number generator for drawings to the Iowa Lottery and those in other states. Porter says they hope to learn more specifics on just how Tipton rigged the process so Tipton’s brother Tommie and others could pick the winning numbers and collect the jackpots.
“As a part of the plea deal, there is a process called the proffer. And the proffer process allows the prosecutor the ability to ask Mr. Tipton questions under oath,” according to Porter. “Some of those questions will certainly get to issues that we believe we know the answers to, but we’d like confirmation. Some will get to issue that we don’t believe we know the answers to yet.”
Porter says the information garnered from these questions could go a long way toward putting to rest any concerns about security. “Certainly any information that the lottery and law enforcement get and the results of that will be used appropriately — whether that is to further the investigation or to further enhance the efforts to protect the integrity of the lottery,” Porter says.
He says there’s information that was not publicly released to protect the investigation, and more of that should be released once the process is completed. “My hope is after Mr. Tipton has been sentenced, that we would be in a better position to take questions more open questions from the public, from the media. And by we, I mean the DCI the Attorney General’s Office and the lottery,” Porter says.
Tipton has agreed to pay restitution to lotteries in Wisconsin, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma as part of the plea agreement. He will not have to pay anything to Iowa for the Hot Lotto jackpot that was rigged, as the prize was not paid out like it was in other states.
Porter says it’s likely any prison time given Tipton will be spent in Iowa. “Each judge will set their sentence separately. The parties are asking for some concurrences within the deal — for example…the prosecution and Tipton were going to stipulate that any Wisconsin jail time get served here in Iowa,” Porter says.
The ticket that started the investigation was turned in just before it was set to expire on December 29, 2011. A New York attorney tried to claim the prize for a trust incorporated in Belize, but Iowa Lottery officials refused to turn over the jackpot after the people involved in the trust refused to reveal their identities. The investigation eventually led to Eddie Tipton and then the other states.