The fallout of a rigged lottery scheme perpetrated by the former director of security for Des Moines-based Multi-State Lottery Association continues in the form of a lawsuit from hundreds of thousands of people who want refunds for their losing tickets.
Early last year, a Hot Lotto winner sued the group claiming that the $9 million jackpot he won in January 2011 would’ve been bigger if the $14 million prize hadn’t been collected fraudulently in the first place.
This new lawsuit is on behalf of the players who didn’t win anything — much less millions — but claim they never had the chance as they were cheated by the rigging scheme. The lawsuit, which seeks class action certification, accusing the association of failing to prevent games from being tampered with and that it failed to operate them in accordance with its own rules, the Associated Press reports.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit kept $45 worth of tickets he played in the Dec. 2010 Hot Lotto drawing, as well as a detailed ledger of all the games he plays.
“While I know the odds aren’t great, I never expected that the games were fixed and my chance was zero,” he said in a statement.
The lawsuit claims that hundreds of thousands of lottery players lost money and should be reimbursed for their tickets, plus interest.
During the trial of the former lottery worker who was convicted in the rigging scheme, prosecutors said he installed a program into the computer in 2010 that randomly chooses winning numbers and then deleted it to cover his tracks.
He then bought the same numbers that he’d programmed into the lottery computer a month before, and gave the ticket to a friend in Texas, prosecutors said. That friend got in touch with attorneys in Canada and Texas in an attempt to cash the ticket without revealing the identity of the original ticket buyer, but because Iowa law requires jackpot winners to be identified, he never got the money.
In Oct. 2014, lottery authorities issued a plea to the public to help find the man who originally purchased the winning ticket, after a Belize-based company tried to claim the reward and failed. At that time, officials believed there was something fishy going on, but weren’t sure what.
The lottery worker was eventually discovered, and then fired and arrested in Jan. 2015. He was then found guilty of two counts of fraud in July 2015.