- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former lottery security chief said Wednesday at his ex-co-worker’s fraud trial over a Hot Lotto ticket that the top threat to any lottery’s integrity can be its own employees.

Ed Stefan, a former chief security officer for the Urbandale-based Multi-State Lottery Association, testified at the trial of Eddie Tipton, 52, that expert information technology employees with ill intentions can be dangerous, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1TDnciy ).

“They have the knowledge, they have the background, they have the access, they have the understanding,” he said. “They have the keys to the kingdom.”

Tipton was an information security director for the lottery association. He is accused of installing a malicious self-deleting computer program to pick numbers for the Dec. 23, 2010, Hot Lotto drawing. Prosecutors say he bought a ticket with those numbers and unsuccessfully tried to get others to cash the $14 million prize without disclosing the buyer.

Tipton, of Nowalk, faces two counts of fraud. He denies the accusations.

Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand said during opening statements Tuesday that Tipton’s actions were a “21st century inside job.” Defense attorney Dean Stowers told jurors there’s no evidence linking Tipton to people who tried to claim the ticket.

Stefan added during his testimony that he and Tipton met in college and were close friends. Stefan said he helped Tipton get the job with the Multi-State Lottery Association.

During a public attempt by authorities to identify the person who bought the Hot Lotto ticket, they distributed a video of a hooded man making the purchase at a convenience store. Stefan said he recognized Tipton in the video and was shocked.

“It looks just like Eddie, it sounds just like Eddie, it acts just like Eddie, the mannerisms are just like Eddie,” he said. “As a disinterested third party, I would say, ‘Oh, that’s Eddie.’ As someone who’s known him half my life, it’s incredibly difficult to believe that’s Eddie Tipton.”

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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