Well, ping pong balls and rotating cages it ain’t: The former lottery security official convicted of trying to rig the system to pick winning numbers is now facing up to 25 years in prison for the scheme.
The $14 million downfall
The Iowa man — who was employed by the Des Moines-based Multi Lottery State Association, which provides computers for lotteries in 33 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — was first found guilty in July 2015 of rigging a computerized Hot Lotto game by installing a program into the computer in 2010, so it would choose the numbers he wanted.
He then bought those same numbers and gave the ticket to a friend in Texas so he could try to cash it out for the $14 million prize, but because Iowa law requires jackpot winners to be identified, he never got the money.
He appealed his conviction in Iowa last year, but that conviction was ultimately upheld.
More legal trouble
His legal problems were far from over at that point, however. In Oct. 2015, according to a helpful timeline [PDF]provided by the Iowa lottery, state officials filed an additional charge. This time, he was accused of violating Iowa’s Ongoing Criminal Conduct statute, stemming from lottery jackpot prizes he won in Colorado in 2005 and Wisconsin in 2007.
That complaint claimed that he helped build random number generators used in jackpot drawings in those states.
Wisconsin officials also filed charges against him in Dec. 2016, and he ultimately pled guilty in June as part of an agreement with prosecutors. That deal also required him to plead guilty in Iowa on charges of ongoing criminal conduct. He also agreed to explain to authorities how he’d managed to fix computers and reveal all the games he’d rigged, and name his accomplices.
All told, he’s admitted to rigging a Colorado Lotto drawing in Nov. 2006, Megabucks in Wisconsin in Dec. 2007, 2by2 in Kansas and Hot Lotto in Iowa in Dec. 2010, and Hot Lotto in Oklahoma in Nov. 2011, reports the Associated Press.
Prosecutors in Iowa now want him to serve 25 years in prison when he’s sentenced today in Des Moines, as a warning to anyone else who may be tempted to rig the lottery.
“The depth of his deceit is dumbfounding,” Assistant Iowa Attorney General Rob Sand said in court filings. “Such crimes cannot be answered without a prison sentence.”