Lottery boss wins $16.5 million in six years by tampering random number generator
According to The Des Moines Register, in a case from last year, new details have been disclosed that tells how the boss of a US lottery used malicious DLLs to manipulate and foretell winning ticket numbers on special days of the year.
The case came into limelight the first time in April 2015, when authorities started the trial of Eddie Raymond Tipton, 53, a former information security director for Iowa’s Multi-State Lottery Association (MSLA).
In July 2015, Tipton was accused of two fraud charges by a judge for fixing a Hot Lotto lottery drawing that created a winning ticket worth $14.3 million (€12.65 million).
While it was not proved by the prosecutors as to how Tipton manipulated the lottery drawing that produced the fraudulent ticket, but he recruited the help of Robert Clark Rhodes II, 46, of Sugarland, Texas, to cash out the winnings.
When Tipton’s scheme was exposed, it’s exposure revealed that he had manipulated lottery drawings in other states also. As a result, he was later sentenced to ten years in prison in September.
In addition to that conviction, Eddie’s now facing additional felony criminal charges for allegedly manipulating drawing computers that he was responsible for building and programming.
In an attempt to find out how Tipton manipulated their system, the MSLA started security audits of their computers immediately after the incidents. However, nothing came out. On the other hand, police kept searching and finally found a fishy dynamic-link library (DLL) on one of the computers responsible for producing random numbers to be used for choosing the winning tickets.
Except for two blocks of code, this DLL was identical to the original one. These two sections were added by Tipton and used a different random generator algorithm to generate the winning numbers.
The fishy DLL took over the standard random number generator (RNG) on three days of the year, on two particular days of the week, and after a certain time of day.
Tipton would then be able to deduce the winning numbers, if a draw was scheduled and met with all three conditions. The fishy DLL made its way into the systems used by the organization in other states, as Tipton was accountable for programming these computers in all MSLA divisions across the country.
Investigators were able to recreate the draws and produce “the very same ‘winning numbers’ from the program that was supposed to produce random numbers.”
Prosecutors say they have found proof of fixed lottery draws in Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Wisconsin. The fact that the tricky malicious DLL was scheduled to self-delete after a period of time made the initial detection of this file difficult.
A new criminal complaint has been filed by the prosecutors against Tipton (embedded below) based on this new evidence, which also includes filing charges against Tipton’s brother, Tommie Tipton of Texas.
Police suspect Tommie Tipton, a former police officer himself, of being involved in securing partnerships for him and his brother in order to withdraw the winnings of lottery tickets in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Oklahoma.
All six prizes linked to Tipton were drawn on either November 23 or December 29 between 2005 and 2011 totaling over $16.5 million (€14.6 million).