Texas man in Iowa to face lottery jackpot fraud charges

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Texas man accused of helping a lottery computer manager in Iowa collect jackpots from rigged lottery games gave up a yearlong extradition fight on Thursday and traveled to Iowa to face charges.

Robert Clark Rhodes II reported to the Polk County jail in Des Moines Thursday morning to face lottery fraud charges filed against him in March 2015, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Rob Sand said. The 46-year-old Sugar Land, Texas, man was booked and released on bond. His attorney, Terry Yates, declined to comment on the allegations or the decision to stop fighting extradition.

"There's not much to say right now but as time goes on it will become more apparent," he said.

Rhodes had fought extradition from Texas to Iowa for a year, appealing all the way to the state's Court of Criminal Appeals.

Prosecutors allege Rhodes helped former Multi-State Lottery Association Eddie Tipton collect jackpots won in rigged games.

Tipton was convicted last year on two counts of fraud for manipulating Iowa Hot Lotto computers in 2010 so he could win a $16.5 million jackpot. He faces trial in July on charges of ongoing criminal conduct and money laundering for allegedly working with associates to fix jackpots and claim prizes worth millions of dollars in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Yates, has said it's possible Rhodes could testify at Tipton's trial.

Prosecutors say Tipton — who as a lottery vendor employee was prohibited from playing or winning — recruited people, including Rhodes, to collect prizes for him without revealing his identity. Prosecutors allege Tipton inserted a self-deleting program into MUSL random-number generating computers that would allow him to pick the correct numbers to win.

Rhodes claimed a $783,257 jackpot in Wisconsin from a December 2007 drawing in the name of a company he founded called Delta S Holdings. The drawing was done on a computer Tipton's team in Iowa built.

Investigators found bank statements showing Delta S Holdings transferred tens of thousands of dollars to Eddie Tipton in the 18 months after the jackpot was claimed.

Tipton worked as a computer security specialist at a company Rhodes founded in 1993 and later served on the company's board of directors. Tipton left the company in 2003 to work at MUSL. Tipton was fired by MUSL after he was charged with fraud in January 2015.

Tipton's younger brother, Tommy Tipton, a former Texas justice of the peace and reserve police officer, also faces charges in Iowa in the lottery scheme.


Follow David Pitt on Twitter at https://twitter.com/davepitt

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