An Iowa lottery employee has been arrested after he was named as the mystery winner of a multimillion-dollar jackpot at Hot Lotto.
Eddie Raymond Tipton, 51, has been charged with two counts of fraud after a four-year investigation.
He bought the Hot Lotto ticket in 2010, despite being legally prohibited, according to Iowa officials.
Eddie Raymond Tipton was caught after allegedly trying to claim the ticket through intermediaries.
In 2010, Eddie Raymond Tipton had been working as the Director of Information Security for the Multi-State Lottery Association. Employees are banned from buying tickets or winning prizes.
The ticket Eddie Raymond Tipton bought was worth over $14 million.
Suspicions were raised after a lawyer tried to claim the prize for an unnamed person in 2011.
Iowa Lottery President Terry Rich said the case was one of the strangest in lottery history.
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An unclaimed $16.5 million winning lottery ticket from December 2010 has just hours to lose the payday.
If the $16.5 million Iowa Lottery ticket is forfeited it will be the second time this week that someone lost out on a million dollar payout.
On Monday, a $77 million lottery ticket went unclaimed in Georgia.
With each passing day, the Iowa Lottery receives more and more inquiries from those who wonder if they may have made the jackpot-winning purchase in Des Moines.
So far, no one has presented the winning ticket which is a requirement for claiming the prize.
The prize is so huge Iowa Lottery security investigators have even worked to identify the jackpot winner by tracking similar ticket purchase patterns.
Lottery CEO Terry Rich said: “It is sad to see this huge prize continue to sit there without being claimed. Someone legitimately won this money and we want them to take it home.
“But you must present the winning ticket to the lottery in order to claim the prize.”
“This has been an unusual story all the way around,” Terry Rich added.
“But we’re hoping that our reminders will cause someone to double-check their ticket and realize they’re the big winner before time runs out.”
Terry Rich said that the lottery does not release a ticket’s date or time of sale for security reasons.
“Some information is kept as our way to double-check that the winner is legitimate,” he said.
Iowa lottery has provided some key information that might jar a winner’s memory.
The Hot Lotto jackpot-winning ticket was purchased at Quik Trip, 4801 N.E. 14th St. in Des Moines. The lucky ticket matched all six numbers selected in the Hot Lotto drawing on December 29, 2010, to win the grand prize.
The winning numbers that night were 3-12-16-26-33 and Hot Ball 11.
Hot Lotto tickets in Iowa expire a year from the date of the drawing in which a prize is won, so the jackpot prize will expire at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday if it isn’t claimed by then.
In Iowa, the money from unclaimed prizes goes into the lottery’s prize pools for future games.
Iowa would get back about $1.3 million if this prize were to go unclaimed.