Former Security Director For Lottery Charged With Tampering Equipment Before Secretly Buying $14.3 Million Winning Ticket
from the security-director? dept
First, there's the story of how Tipton was discovered winning the lottery in the first place. The ticket was purchased in late December 2010 in a QuickTrip off of Highway 80 in Iowa. The winning $14.3 million went unclaimed for nearly a year, but right before it was set to expire, a New York lawyer named Crawford Shaw showed up with paperwork to claim it. However, Shaw refused to reveal the necessary details about who actually won the money, as Shaw was merely representing Hexham Investments Trust, which was a shell company set up in Belize. Belize, as you already know, is a popular place to setup offshore companies if you want the true ownership to be anonymous. The problem, however, is that Iowa doesn't allow for anonymous lottery winners. That resulted in Iowa officials investigating who was really behind the winning ticket.
The resulting investigation took them from the NY lawyer Shaw to some (unnamed) guy in Quebec City, Canada, who was listed as Hexham Investments Trust's trustor and president. That guy eventually pointed investigators to two other guys in the Houston area: Robert Rhodes and an unnamed Houston attorney -- who had also known the NY attorney, Shaw, for many years. The attorney in Houston insisted that he represented the winner of the ticket who wished to remain anonymous. Somewhat stumped, investigators released a video and screenshots of the guy at the QuickTrip who bought the ticket:
And that's where the story stood until just recently. In March, Rhodes was also arrested for fraud and then prosecutors revealed that Tipton was in the draw room in November, a month before the winning ticket was purchased and that they believe he tampered with the equipment:
Prosecutors also argued in their reply that Tipton was in the draw room on Nov. 20, 2010, "ostensibly to change the time on the computers." The prosecution alleged the cameras in the room on that date recorded about one second per minute instead of how they normally operate, recording every second a person is in the room.Of course, some of the additional evidence seems purely speculative. For example, prosecutors quote Tipton's co-workers talking about his "obsession" with rootkits:
"Four of the five individuals who have access to control the camera's settings will testify they did not change the cameras' recording instructions; the fifth person is Defendant," the prosecution wrote.
It is a reasonable deduction to infer that Defendant tampered with the camera equipment to have an opportunity to insert a thumbdrive into the RNG tower without detection."
In their reply to the defense's motion, prosecutors argued that Tipton's co-workers said he "was 'obsessed' with root kits, a type of computer program that can be installed quickly, set to do just about anything, and then self-destruct without a trace." The prosecution claimed a witness will testify that Tipton told him before December 2010 that he had a self-destructing root kit.Honestly, that part of it feels pretty weak, and one would hope they have more extensive evidence to support that claim. However, given all of the other evidence in the case, and the timing of all of the events, it certainly does raise reasonable questions about just what Tipton was up to in that room.