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Parole revoked for Iowa man convicted of lottery rigging

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A man serving a 25-year prison sentence for rigging computers to win lottery jackpots has had his parole revoked after getting into trouble in prison just before his scheduled release.

Eddie Tipton was approved for release by the Iowa Board of Parole on January 20 due to his good behavior. He had served nearly five years of his 25-year sentence. The commission reversed its decision and canceled his parole on March 10.

“He was the subject of major discipline or major reporting within the facility after we granted parole but before he was physically released,” said Andrew Boettger, president of the Iowa Parole Board.

The Iowa Department of Corrections notified the board of the incident, the board reviewed it, and “based on the nature of the discipline decided to rescind the grant of parole,” said Boettger said.

Boettger declined to specify what Tipton did before his release to deserve disciplinary action. A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections referred questions to Boettger. The prison system spokesperson also declined a request to speak with Tipton at Clarinda Men’s Medium-Security State Prison.

Tipton had worked for an organization in Urbandale, Iowa, that provided random number drawing computers to several states with lotteries. Investigators said he installed a code on lottery computers that allowed him to predict winning numbers on certain days. He, his brother Tommy Tipton from Texas and others played the numbers he predicted and claimed winnings.

Eddie Tipton pleaded guilty in 2017 to continuing criminal conduct and was ordered to repay $2.2 million in ill-gotten winnings to lotteries in Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma. Court documents say he still owes most of the money. He shared part of the restitution obligation with his brother, who received part of the winnings.

An Iowa jury also convicted Eddie Tipton of trying to withdraw $16.5 million from a rigged Iowa lottery game in December 2010, but the Iowa Supreme Court in 2017 overturned the decision, saying the state took too long to prosecute him.

Tipton, like all nonviolent offenders without a mandatory minimum sentence, will be re-reviewed in a year and corrections officials may recommend him again for parole before then, Boettger said.

In Iowa, nonviolent offenders without a mandatory minimum sentence are immediately eligible for parole. Typically, the prison system assesses when they are ready for consideration and makes a recommendation to the parole board, which makes its own assessment and determines if the person is ready to transition to a prison placement. release or parole and “has been rehabilitated and is ready to live a law-abiding life,” Boettger said.

Parole board papers say Tipton would have been allowed to move to Texas, where he has family, including his brother.

During his 2017 sentencing hearing in Iowa, Tipton told the judge that he had written software containing code that allowed him to predict winning numbers on certain dates. He gave these numbers to others who won lottery prizes and shared the winnings with him.

It is unclear what happened to the money Tipton and his associates won between 2005 and 2011. Of the seven known winning tickets that have grossed over $2.2 million, Eddie Tipton claimed to have ended up with only $351,000.

Tipton, 59, filed a lawsuit in state court, claiming he was forced to plead guilty. He also alleges that Iowa officials have charged him with restitution in states over which he has no jurisdiction, and he says he cannot pay. A trial is scheduled for August 17.

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