Lottery Scammer Gets Out 20 Years Early

But Eddie Tipton still owes $2.2M
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2022 6:16 PM CST
Programmer Who Rigged Lottery Gets Out 20 Years Early
Former lottery computer programmer Eddie Tipton speaks during his sentencing hearing, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall File)

The Iowa man behind one of the largest lottery scams in American history has been granted parole after serving less than five years of his 25-year sentence—but Eddie Tipton might need to figure out another way to make money fast. The Iowa Board of Parole says Tipton, a former lottery computer programmer and IT security director convicted of rigging lotteries in several states, was granted release due to good behavior and will be allowed to live in Texas, the AP reports. According to court documents, however, the 58-year-old owes around $2.2 million in restitution for lottery scams in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and he has only paid around $2,000.

Tipton, who was serving a Wisconsin sentence concurrently with the one in Iowa, owes the state around $409,000 and could be sent to prison there if he hasn't paid up by Sept. 2026, when his parole term in the state ends. "Eddie may be done with this term, but under his plea agreement, he needs to get restitution paid to avoid serving more time in Wisconsin," says Iowa Auditor Rob Sand, who helped prosecute Tipton. "I wish him luck in getting that done." Tipton doesn't owe restitution in Iowa because suspicious authorities refused to pay out on a $16.5 million jackpot he tried to collect in 2010.

During his 2017 sentencing hearing, Tipton admitted that 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," per the Des Moines Register. Tipton has claimed he only received $351,000 from tickets that won $2.2 million between 2005 and 2011, the AP reports. In Jan. 2020, he filed a lawsuit seeking to halt restitution and reverse his conviction, arguing that he had been under duress to plead guilty. The case will go to trial in August. (Investigators said Tipton's distinct drawl gave him away.)

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