Man pleads guilty in Wisconsin to multi-state lotto scam

(Reuters) - A man pleaded guilty in Wisconsin to felony charges of rigging the state’s lottery software to produce predictable winning numbers as part of a multi-state gaming scam, Wisconsin’s attorney general said on Monday.

Eddie Tipton faces 13-1/2 years in prison and a fine of $35,000 for theft by fraud and computer crime, both felonies, for programming lottery software resulting in him winning nearly $800,000, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement.

Tipton, who pleaded guilty in Dane County, Wisconsin, will be sentenced on Sept. 21.

Tipton’s attorney could not be reached for comment after business hours on Monday.

As part of the agreement, Tipton will also plead guilty to one count of ongoing criminal conduct in Iowa at a later date and pay restitution to Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma for similar fraudulent lottery wins.

“Mr. Tipton’s actions defrauding the lottery were a gross violation of the public’s trust and confidence and I’m grateful to the coalition of state entities and law enforcement agencies that spanned multiple states for their efforts to find truth and seek justice,” Schimel said.

Tipton worked for the Multi-State Lottery Association and was responsible for programming the software used in the random number generator machines that picked the winning numbers, Schimel said.

In 2007, Tipton programmed a modified code in the random number generator software that, when certain conditions were met, produced a predictable set of winning numbers.

He then supplied these numbers to his friend, Robert Rhodes, who purchased a winning Megabucks ticket worth $783,257 on Dec. 29, 2007. Rhodes and Tipton split the proceeds.

Tipton was previously convicted by a jury in Iowa in 2015 for two counts of fraud for rigging the Hot Lotto drawing in that state to win a $14.3 million prize.

That verdict has been appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, John Koremenos, a spokesman for Schimel said.