A Webster City Hot Lotto winner says he was shortchanged $10 million in his cash prize, and is now suing for that sum plus interest. The lawsuit stems from the rigging of the Hot Lotto game back in December 2010, when Multi-State Lottery Association information security employee Eddie Tipton fraudulently programmed the game to spit out a specific set of numbers and then purchased a ticket with those numbers.
Hot Lotto is a “progressive jackpot" game. If there's no winner, the money is put in the next pot with at least an additional $50,000.
Larry Dawson was the first to hit the jackpot after Tipton’s scam, and was initially awarded $6 million. Dawson says he's also entitled to the amount Tipton tried and failed to claim through an intermediary.
After a year and a day, the unclaimed prize money was distributed among the 16 participating Hot Lotto state lotteries. Tipton remained employed with the lottery until November 2014.
“You know the odds aren’t exactly what we call ‘great’ to win the lottery. And if you win, you should get your prize,” says Dawson’s attorney, Des Moines-based Jerry Crawford. “The question that our lawsuit posed that we think should be very easy to answer, if you can’t trust the lottery to pay you in full when you win, why should you ever play?”
In a written statement, Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich says, “It is impossible to rewrite history,” and that he believes, “Mr. Dawson rightfully was paid the jackpot to which he was entitled...We have taken the actions necessary to ensure the integrity and security of lottery games today."
Tipton was convicted on two counts of fraud last year and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but is free on appeal.