Iowa state lottery’s IT security boss hacked his employer’s computer system, and rigged the lottery so he could buy a winning ticket in a subsequent draw.
On Tuesday, at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa, the disgraced director of information security was found guilty of fraud.
Eddie Tipton, 52, installed a hidden rootkit on a computer system run by the Multi-State Lottery Association so he could secretly alter the lottery’s random number generator, the court heard. This allowed him to calculate the numbers that would be drawn in the state’s Hot Lotto games, and therefore buy a winning ticket beforehand.
The prosecution said he also tampered with security cameras covering the lottery computer to stop them recording access to the machine.
The winning ticket, worth $14.3m after the draw in December 2010, was bought by a customer in a Des Moines QuikTrip gas station who kept his or her face hidden by a hoodie. Lottery bosses released the video of the purchase to the public in hope of tracking down the winner, and Tipton was identified as the punter by a coworker. That’s when investigators stepped in.
Meanwhile, two teams of lawyers – one in Canada and one in the US – separately tried to cash the winnings, but could not prove they bought the winning ticket. One of the legal eagles said they were hired by Robert Rhodes, a Texas man who happened to be Tipton’s best friend, to cash the winning ticket, The Des Moines Register reports.
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