- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Texas man accused of helping his friend, a former lottery security officer, attempt to collect jackpots from fixed lottery tickets has lost an appeal of his extradition to Iowa, where he faces charges of fraud.

Robert Clark Rhodes II, of Sugar Land, Texas, was charged last year by Iowa authorities with two counts of fraud, and Texas authorities arrested him March 30, 2015. He was released on bond as he fought extradition. A judge ruled last year Iowa has enough evidence to arrest him and Rhodes appealed. A Texas appeals court on March 8 dismissed Rhodes’ challenges and said the extradition may proceed.

On Wednesday, Rhodes filed a petition asking the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to consider the case, said Rhodes’ attorney Terry Yates.

Iowa wants Rhodes because of his ties to Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association computer security officer convicted of fixing a Hot Lotto game in 2010 in an effort to get himself a winning ticket worth $16.5 million.

Iowa Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand, who successfully prosecuted Tipton last July on two charges of fraud, alleges Tipton disguised himself with a hooded jacket and bought the ticket, then gave it to Rhodes to figure out a way to collect the jackpot anonymously.

Sand alleges Rhodes reached out to attorneys in New York and Canada but both failed in their attempts to cash the ticket because Iowa requires lottery winners to identify themselves and prove they bought the ticket or acquired it legally. Since the men refused to disclose the identity of the ticket buyer the jackpot was never paid. Tipton couldn’t win a jackpot because he worked at MUSL, a vendor for the Iowa Lottery.

Tipton, 52, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He has appealed and remains free on bond.

In October, Sand charged Tipton with ongoing criminal conduct and money laundering after investigators uncovered new evidence they say shows he worked with associates to fix jackpots and claim prizes worth millions of dollars in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Tipton is scheduled to face a trial on those charges in July.

In Wisconsin, a ticket matched the Dec. 29, 2007, Megabucks drawing done on a computer Tipton’s MUSL team in Iowa built. Rhodes claimed the $783,257 jackpot in the name of a company he founded called Delta S Holdings. Wisconsin law allows winners to remain anonymous if they collect the money in a trust or company name. Investigators, however, learned that Rhodes was behind Delta S Holdings. They also found bank statements showing Delta S Holdings transferred tens of thousands of dollars to Eddie Tipton in the 18 months after the lottery jackpot was claimed.

Sand said he couldn’t comment on the Texas appeals court ruling in Rhodes’ extradition case.

Rhodes could testify at Tipton’s upcoming trial.

“We don’t know that yet,” Yates said. “It’s a possibility.”

Tipton worked as a computer security specialist at a company Rhodes founded in 1993 and later served on the company’s board of directors. Tipton left the company in 2003 to work at MUSL in Iowa, where he built computers and software designed to randomly generate numbers for several lottery games.

Tipton was fired by MUSL after he was charged with fraud in January 2015.

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