Arrest Made in Controversial Hot Lotto CaseFriday January 16th 2015
An arrest has been made in relation to the mysterious Hot Lotto case that began in December 2010. Authorities claim that an Iowa-based lottery employee, Eddie Raymond Tipton, was illegally purchasing lottery tickets. Two counts of fraud have been brought against Tipton, who was arrested and charged on Thursday. After buying Hot Lotto tickets on December 23rd, 2010, he happened to win the $14.3 million jackpot offered in the drawing held on December 29 of that same year.
Lottery vendors and employees cannot buy tickets for games like Hot Lotto and Powerball, meaning that Tipton, who works for the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) as their director for information security, could not redeem the prize. After the draw, nearly a year passed without any sign of a winner, until Crawford Shaw, an attorney from New York, came forward at the 11th hour to claim the prize on behalf of a corporation based in Belize.
While the ticket was valid, lottery officials denied the claim because Shaw could not name who had purchased the ticket and passed it on to him for processing. Shaw later admitted that he did not know who the winner was and withdrew the claim.
Authorities claim that during this time the jackpot went unclaimed Tipton reached out to two people in Texas to learn more about how to claim the top prize anonymously. They then got in touch with Shaw and a Canadian citizen to form a trust, with the lottery proceeds being directed to a Belize-based corporation.
After Shaw’s claim fell through, the prize expired and the money was returned to all participating Hot Lotto states. In 2012, the Iowa Lottery held a special promotion to give away its portion of the winnings. However, authorities have kept the case open, releasing a video in October of last year that shows what they claim is Tipton buying the ticket in a convenience store near Des Moines. A former coworker contacted the authorities after seeing the video, and Iowa police agents matched a license plate on one of the cars parked at the convenience store to that of Tipton’s car.
Iowa Lottery president and CEO Terry Rich described the case as “one of the strangest situations in lottery history”. Officials plan to review their rules and procedures for lottery games in light of the event.