Programmer who rigged lottery jackpots and won millions is headed to prison

DES MOINES, Iowa – An ex-lottery computer programmer who rigged the system in several states to enable himself to win $2.2 million in jackpots is going to prison.

An Iowa judge sentenced Eddie Tipton, 54, to up to 25 years in prison on Tuesday, though the Des Moines Register reports he could be paroled in as few as three due to Iowa law.

"I certainly regret" what happened, Tipton told Judge Brad McCall, who cited Tipton's "greed" in handing down the maximum sentence. "It's difficult for me to say that with all the people that I know behind me that I hurt. I regret it, and I'm sorry," Tipton said.

As part of the deal, Tipton agreed to pay $2.2 million in restitution to state lotteries in Colorado, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Kansas; he was also accused of fixing games in Iowa, where he tried and failed to cash in a $16.5 million Hot Lotto ticket in 2010.

When the judge asked him how he intended to pay the money back, Tipton said, per CNN, "Initially, I really don't know." As the information technology manager of the Multi-State Lottery Association, Tipton had access to computers that picked winning numbers in lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions in more than 30 states and US territories.

He pleaded guilty in June to writing computer code that produced winning numbers on certain days; he then fed those numbers to accomplices, including his brother, who bought lottery tickets.

The team then split the winnings. Tipton "had the keys to the kingdom," the Iowa lottery CEO tells the AP, noting that "checks and balances" have been added to secure the drawings.

(This man traveled 1,000 miles to claim winnings in a lottery scam.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Programmer Who Rigged the Lottery Is Headed to Jail

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