Lottery official says $1.2M Oklahoma jackpot linked to fraud

By Sean Murphy, Associated Press | Posted - Nov. 20, 2015 at 4:12 p.m.



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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A $1.2 million jackpot-winning Hot Lotto ticket sold in Oklahoma in 2011 has been connected to a former security official of a multi-state lottery vendor accused of rigging lotteries in four different states, a lottery official said Friday.

Oklahoma Lottery Director Rollo Redburn said a criminal investigation in Iowa has been expanded to include the winning ticket sold at the Miki Mart in Idabel in November 2011.

Eddie Tipton, a former security director of the Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association, has been convicted of fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection with the attempted claim of a 2010 lottery jackpot in Iowa. Tipton is appealing that conviction.

Since then, Iowa prosecutors have filed new criminal charges against Tipton connected to jackpots claimed in Colorado, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

Iowa prosecutors say Tipton helped build the random-number generator equipment used in the jackpot drawings. In the Iowa jackpot case, prosecutors allege he used specially designed, self-deleting stealth software to fix the numbers in a Hot Lotto drawing, then bought a ticket with those numbers to win the jackpot. The jackpot was never paid, because Tipton, as an employee of a lottery vendor, was prohibited by Iowa rules from playing, and others who tried to cash the ticket for him were unsuccessful because they refused to identify who purchased the ticket.

After the Iowa case surfaced, lottery officials notified other state lotteries to review previous jackpot winners that fit certain criteria, such as pre-selected numbers and out-of-state winners, Redburn said.

"People knew that he (Tipton) had connections in Texas," Redburn said. "At the time we sent them this information and we reviewed it, this person that won that $1.2 million prize was from Texas. We told them they should probably check that out since he's an out-of-state winner."

The winning Oklahoma jackpot was claimed by Kyle Conn, a construction company owner from Hemphill, Texas. Neither Redburn nor Iowa Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand would elaborate on a potential connection between Conn and Tipton.

Telephone and email messages left Friday with Conn seeking comment were not returned.

In a press release issued by Oklahoma lottery officials in December 2011, Conn said he was traveling through Oklahoma on business and decided to purchase a Hot Lotto ticket on a whim.

"I'm not a regular player," Conn said in the release. "But now I suggest everyone play the Oklahoma Lottery — I know I will play more often!"

Conn told lottery officials he planned to celebrate his win with a New Year's Eve party and invest his winnings, according to the release.

Conn took the lump-sum payout and, after taxes and withholdings, received a check for $644,478, Redburn said.

A spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said his office is aware of the allegations and is communicating with the Iowa attorney general's office as their investigation continues.

"The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office will continue to closely monitor the situation to determine any steps that would necessary to address any unlawful activity that may have occurred within this state," Pruitt spokesman Aaron Cooper said in a statement.

Since the allegations surfaced in Iowa, Redburn said any equipment connected to Tipton has been removed and extra security measures put in place.

"All the programming has been redone and recertified by international gaming lab certification companies," Redburn said. "All that's been cleaned up."

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Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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Sean Murphy

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