It really looks like this is a scene from some blockbuster movie, but it is not and actually it is a part of real life, not reel life.
Eddie Raymond Tipton, a security director at MUSL – The Multi State Lottery Association – that runs major lotteries like Mega Millions, Powerball and Hot Lotto across the USA, is accused of tampering with the system and pocketing a vast fortune.
It is quite understandable that employees are not permitted to play any of these lotteries. However, Tipton, who is 51-year-old, defied the rule and not only went on to play but he won $14.3 million in the process.
Now, the point that is not disputed is on December 23rd 2010, a person has walked into the Quick Trip Store on the East of the 13th Street off the Interstate Highway 80 in the region of Des Moines, and purchased a lottery ticket. The store’s cameras captured the purchase and now you can watch it here:
This ticket was the winner of the $14.3 million and, despite the rapid publicity, it had gone unclaimed for a whole year.
Just before the time limit for claiming the prize was to expire in 2011, a company in Belize that was mysterious in nature, tried to claim the prize via a New York attorney. This company claimed that the ticket holder wanted to remain anonymous. However, this was a big issue as the lottery officials did not release the prize won as it is mandatory for the claimant to reveal his identity. This is a statute under the state law of Iowa. The prize later was withdrawn in January 2012.
Now, the authorities were curious so they decided to release a video footage of the purchase of the ticket in October 2014. This was bad news for Tipton. A colleague from out of the state at the lottery association recognized him as the man in the video.
Besides the above, there was a silver 2007 Ford Edge car that was rented by Tipton and that matched with the details of the purchaser of the winning lottery in December 2010. Tipton was later arrested and charged with fraud.
There have been reports by ARS Technica where prosecutors claim that Tipton was obsessed with rootkits self-destructive in nature. These rootkits had the ability to change the computer systems and destroy evidence that were presented to the targeted customer.
Besides this, prosecutors also claim that Tipton may have tampered with the RNG, or the random number generator, of the lottery system. There is possibility that he infected the lottery system with malware by a USB stick.
The court documents were filed last week and the prosecutors state that there is enough evidence to support the fact that Tipton has used his privileged position to enter the locked room where the RNG computers were housed. He infected them with software to get him the winning numbers.
In order to prevent external attacks, the computers are not connected to the internet. Prosecutors claim that Tipton entered the locked room on the 20th of November 2010 to change the time on the system of the computers. The cameras on the said date only recorded one second for a minute unlike the normal days where they run continuously.
Did he tamper with the RNG of the computer lottery system? Forensic evidence is yet to be seen. If there is lack of evidence, this will damage the case against Tipton.
Tipton’s scheduled trial begins on July 13th.