Man Fighting Jail Sentence For Rigging Lottery So He Won 3 Times a Year

In 2017, Eddie Tipton was found guilty of stealing millions of dollars by altering computers to secure lottery wins for himself, friends and family in what became known as the Hot Lotto fraud scandal.

However, he is now suing the State of Iowa, saying he was persuaded to plead guilty of crimes he claims he is innocent of.

He previously worked as the information security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, responsible for lottery computers generating random numbers.

Following detailed examination of the random number generator used in a 2007 Wisconsin lottery incident, investigators discovered Tipton had programmed one to produce special results if the lottery numbers were drawn on three days a year.

At his sentencing four years ago, Tipton appeared to admit his crimes, telling the judge he "wrote software that included code that allowed me to understand or technically predict winning numbers, and I gave those numbers to other individuals who then won the lottery and shared the winnings with me."

He was required to repay $2 million in prize money from the rigged lotteries in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma, while an Iowa jury also convicted him of attempting to take $16.5 million from a lottery game in December 2010.

However, this decision was eventually overruled by Iowa's Supreme Court in 2017, following a technicality over the excessive length of time it took to prosecute him.

But Tipton now says he was forced to plead guilty, that he was charged for restitution in states for which Iowa lacks jurisdiction, and that he was unable to pay, amid uncertainty into where some of the winnings went.

Man Fighting Jail Sentence
Lottery scammer Eddie Tipton is attempting to overturn his 25-year sentence, claiming he was coerced to plead guilty to crimes he did not commit Morakot Kawinchan/Getty

Assistant Attorney General William Hill has argued Tipton's lawsuit should be dismissed, as the lawsuit is barred by the statute of limitations and should be dismissed as frivolous.

He added by filing the lawsuit, Tipton is violating the terms of his June 2017 plea agreement involving potential cases in multiple states and that the violation "provides the opportunity for all jurisdictions to re-initiate criminal charges stemming from Tipton's actions."

But Tipton argues that the 2017 Iowa Supreme Court dismissal removed the basis for the crime he ended up pleading to.

He wrote: "The applicant received a favorable decision in the Iowa Supreme Court wherein the court stated that there was not a continuing or 'ongoing' crime; nor was there a continuing threat and, therefore, the sentence for ongoing criminal conduct is bogus and illegal."

Tipton filed documents starting the lawsuit from prison in January 2020.