The CONNIVING brothers used a ‘secret code’ in history’s most daring lottery fraud – but a mistake meant they never got the money.
Eddie Tipton started his “Hot Lotto” fraud in 2005 while working for the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa, USA.
He developed a cryptic computer that he linked to the lottery random number generator.
This meant he could generate his own codes and then claim a lottery win.
He won two draws through his scam, while brother Tommy won ten years earlier.
Thanks to Tipton, two other people won the jackpot.
In December 2010, he was seen on CCTV buying a ticket for a £13 million jackpot at a supermarket in Des Moines.
He picked the right numbers and “won” the multi-state Hot Lotto prize.
But Tipton had to remain anonymous to avoid getting caught – so he set up an offshore trust, based in Belize, to claim it.
On November 9, 2011, a man named Philip Johnson from Quebec City, Canada called the lottery claiming he had won the jackpot and providing a 15-digit code.
He said he was too sick to collect the amount in person, but when he couldn’t answer the verification questions, he was turned away.
He called again on December 6, this time claiming the ticket winner was anonymous and that Hexham Investments, Tipton’s shell company, represented the winner.
Iowa Lottery rules prohibit anonymous prize claims and this was also rejected.
With just two hours left to claim the jackpot on December 29, 2011, lawyers representing the company filed a claim but spelled the company name ‘Hexam’ – it was thrown out.
An investigation was launched and CCTV footage was found of Tipton purchasing the ticket.
On January 15, 2015, the law caught up with him and he was arrested and charged with two counts of fraud.
He told investigators after his conviction, “It was never my intention to start a full-blown ticket scam.”
In July of that year, Tipton was sentenced to ten years in prison after being found guilty of both charges.
After a successful parole hearing, he was released in July 2022.
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