Colorado man who unwittingly split a $four.8M jackpot with scammer is fighting the Colorado Lottery
In 2005, 3 other folks gained a Colorado Lotto jackpot value $four.eight million, and Boulder’s Amir Massihzadeh held one set of profitable numbers.
He authorised his prize of $568,990 — after splitting the pot and paying taxes — and moved on with existence.
Ten years later, Colorado Bureau of Investigation brokers visited Massihzadeh to interview him about his profitable quantity as a result of they have been investigating a prison scheme to rig lotteries. They suspected the different two ticket-holders who split the prize with Massihzadeh had cheated.
Massihzadeh, who let the laptop make a selection his numbers, was once now not suspected of wrongdoing.
Even after the different two have been convicted in the rip-off, the Colorado Lottery refused to award the complete jackpot to Massihzadeh, pronouncing he was once locked into a contract when he signed the authentic price tag.
Thus started a years-long courtroom combat between Massihzadeh and the state lottery over whether or not or now not he is entitled to the complete $four.eight million jackpot. On Tuesday, the Colorado Court of Appeals will listen the case to interpret precisely how contracts between lottery winners and the state will have to paintings.
“If an honest person plays a game by the rules, but other players cheat to win and get caught, then the honest player should get the whole jackpot and the cheaters should not get anything,” Robert Duncan, certainly one of Massihzadeh’s legal professionals, stated in an e mail to The Denver Post. “But when we went to the state, it said it did not owe our client anything.”
Massihzadeh declined an interview, however his attorney stated his consumer is not mad or annoyed. He merely believes the complete jackpot is rightfully his.
Lottery officers referred questions on the case to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, which declined remark on account of pending litigation.
When Massihzadeh gained just about 14 years in the past he by no means regarded as there can be a downside, Duncan stated.
What he — and state lottery officers — didn’t know was once that a man in Iowa who labored as director of knowledge safety for the Multi-State Lottery Association was once putting in code to lend a hand him and his brother forecast most likely profitable numbers. The Multi-State Lottery Association is a nonprofit group owned and operated by means of 33 state lottery programs, together with Colorado’s, which use the affiliation’s laptop machine to generate profitable numbers.
Eddie Tipton, the safety director in Iowa and the mastermind in the back of the rip-off, had manipulated the laptop program in order that he would be capable of expect profitable numbers, consistent with earlier stories on the rip-off. Tipton designed the tool in order that it best operated on sure dates and was once dormant the remainder of the time to steer clear of detection. But on the ones sure dates, odds have been prime that Tipton knew the numbers that may be selected.
Tipton supplied the ones possible profitable numbers to his brother, Tommy Tipton, who additionally shared them with others.
After the Nov. 23, 2005, Colorado Lotto numbers have been introduced, Tommy Tipton, who had won a notepad with most likely profitable mixtures from his brother, gave his profitable price tag to a buddy, who claimed a lump-sum payout.
Tommy Tipton additionally had shared the ones mixtures with any person else, and the 3rd profitable quantity was once claimed by means of a Las Vegas restricted legal responsibility corporate referred to as Cuestion de Suerte, which additionally requested for a lump-sum fee.
But the Tiptons were given stuck after the Iowa Lottery investigated suspicious instances surrounding a $16.Five million Hot Lotto price tag bought in December 2010.
The Tiptons have been required by means of courtroom order to pay Colorado $1,137,980 in restitution: the overall quantity paid out by means of the state for the two rigged lottery tickets. They have been additionally ordered to pay restitution in Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Kansas, consistent with Colorado’s reaction temporary in the Court of Appeals case.
The state stated in its courtroom submitting that the Tiptons have now not paid any of the restitution to Colorado and are not going to take action. Eddie Tipton is serving two consecutive five-year sentences in the Iowa state jail, it mentioned.
After the Tiptons’ scheme was once busted, that left Massihzadeh as the lone holder of a profitable Lotto price tag.
Massihzadeh and his legal professionals went to the Colorado Lottery to invite for the complete payout.
“These criminals knew what no one else did: what the potential winning combination of numbers would be. They were not playing a game of chance like all the honest players,” Massihzadeh’s legal professionals wrote of their opening temporary ahead of the appeals courtroom. “For the honest players, like Mr. Massihzadeh, the drawing was still a fair and random game of chance because they had the same opportunity to win when competing against other honest players.”
Lottery officers stated they didn’t owe Massihzadeh anything else. The authentic payout was once set in a contract each events had signed, the lottery made up our minds.
But a Denver District Court pass judgement on pushed aside the lawsuit in February 2018, agreeing with lottery officers that Massihzadeh was once sure by means of the authentic contract.
The state has argued that Colorado regulation says the lottery can’t be held liable after income are paid, and that it technically didn’t have contracts with the Tiptons as a result of people claimed the winnings. The prison convictions had no relating Massihzadeh’s declare as a result of the winner’s stocks are made up our minds by means of the choice of matching tickets, now not the way wherein a participant purchases a price tag, the lottery stated.
“Massihzadeh, unaware of the fraud, purchased a quick pick ticket. He now claims that the Division’s payment of two-thirds of the jackpot to the other ticket holders breached his own contract with the Division,” the Colorado Lottery argued in its temporary ahead of the appeals courtroom. “In doing so, he entirely disregards the terms of that contract. He also ignores the obvious — he was an unknowing beneficiary of the fraud, not a victim of it. The Division was defrauded of at least $1.6 million in prize money in 2005. Massihzadeh now asks the Division to pay this amount a second time.”
On Tuesday, ahead of an target audience of highschool scholars in Trinidad, Massihzadeh’s legal professionals will attempt to persuade the appeals courtroom their consumer merits the cash and to opposite the district courtroom’s determination.
And if he loses?
“He certainly hopes the Court of Appeals will agree with his position, but, if not, then his life will continue to be as good as it has been since 2005,” Duncan stated.
Timeline of the greatest crime in US lottery historical past
The following is a compilation of Lottery Post information protection chronicling the Hot Lotto thriller and therefore found out crime.
We get started the timeline with a information tale indicating that best three months remained for the $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot to be claimed.
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