Victims of the largest lottery scam in U.S. history are expected to pocket only a small fraction of a $4.3 million settlement because of a lack of applicants laying claim to the money, court records show.
But it's not too late.
Claims can be made online through Jan. 7 and those for $10 or less require no proof of purchase.
Larger ones require receipts dating back as far as 14 years.
"If you're claiming more" than $10 "they sure made it difficult," said Craig Johnson, a Manson resident who saved and submitted his losing tickets for a refund. "I don't know how many people will respond."
The settlement is a result of a 2017 lawsuit filed by Burlington resident Dale Culler, who asserted that thousands of lottery players, cheated by an insider's long-running scheme to rig jackpots, should be reimbursed for losing tickets.
The scheme began in 2005 when Eddie Tipton, then information technology director for the Multi-State Lottery Association in Urbandale, rigged random-number-generating computer software so he could predict the winning numbers. Tipton's scheme, replicated in games across multiple states served by the association, commonly known as MUSL, went undetected for years.
Tipton ultimately pleaded guilty to the scheme and in 2017 was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. He is currently at the Clarinda Correctional Facility.
The settlement in Culler's class-action lawsuit was made in July by MUSL. The agreement provides refunds of the cost of tickets purchased for nine drawing dates for games in 33 states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., between Nov. 23, 2005, and May 23, 2013.
The lack of refund claims came to light in recent court filings. MUSL is objecting to a $1.4 million payment from the settlement to class-action attorneys, arguing the amount is not reasonable compared to the results that were achieved.
The settlement's administrator, Rust Consulting, had anticipated 100,000 claims but in November adjusted the estimate to 20,500. As of Nov. 2 — about two months after the launch of a settlement website — 8,749 people had applied, court records show.
MUSL had earlier agreed that 30% of the settlement would be paid to the plaintiff's attorneys. The association's recent motion is in connection with a squabble over $129,000 in legal fees it says the class-action attorneys shouldn't receive.
A judge will determine the amount of payment the attorneys will receive. No hearing has been scheduled, according to online court records.
Culler will be paid $20,000 out of the settlement fund as an "incentive award" for spearheading the lawsuit, court documents show.
Lottery scam settlement
Claim forms must be submitted on or before Jan. 7 and can be accessed online at www.lotterygamesettlement.com.
Timeline of the biggest crime in US lottery history
The following is a compilation of Lottery Post news coverage chronicling the Hot Lotto mystery and subsequently discovered crime.
We start the timeline with a news story indicating that only 3 months remained for the $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot to be claimed.
- Iowa Lottery security chief bent on determining identity of jackpot winner, Jan. 10, 2012
- NY lawyer in lottery mystery travels to Iowa this week, Jan. 17, 2012
- Iowa Lottery security chief to grill NY lawyer over Hot Lotto ticket, Jan. 17, 2012
- Representative of Hot Lotto winner named in lawsuit, Jan. 20, 2012
- Hot Lotto trust representative won't name winner, Jan. 20, 2012
- Iowa Lottery threatens to deny jackpot payout if winner stays anonymous, Jan. 23, 2012
- Lawyer gives up $14 million Iowa lottery ticket claim, Jan. 26, 2012
- $14.3 million Hot Lotto prize claim withdrawn, Jan. 27, 2012
- Iowa Legislators satisfied with Lottery's handling of mystery jackpot winner, Feb. 1, 2012
- Iowa Lottery to give away millions from jackpot mystery, Feb. 26, 2012
- Iowa Lottery director: 50-50 that Hot Lotto mystery will be solved, Aug. 9, 2012
- Iowa officials trying to solve lotto mystery, may release surveillance video, Aug. 19, 2012
- MUSL employee arrested in Hot Lotto jackpot mystery, Jan. 15, 2015
- BOMBSHELL: MUSL employee might have rigged Hot Lotto computerized drawing, Apr. 13, 2015
- Texas man charged in Iowa lottery case contests extradition, Apr. 20, 2015
- Extradition trial begins this week in $16.5M Hot Lotto fraud case, Jun. 7, 2015
- Inside the biggest lottery scam ever, Jul. 7, 2015
- Trial underway in world's biggest lottery fraud case, Jul. 14, 2015
- Lottery security chief: Rigging computerized game "sadly" possible, Jul. 15, 2015
- Prosecution rests in Hot Lotto trial, Jul. 16, 2015
- Defense quickly wraps up in Hot Lotto trial, Jul. 16, 2015
- Hot Lotto case moves to jury for deliberations, Jul. 17, 2015
- Former lottery security employee guilty of rigging $14.3M drawing, Jul. 20, 2015
- MUSL security worker who rigged drawing gets 10 years, Sep. 9, 2015
- HOT LOTTO DRAWING CHEAT CHARGED WITH RIGGING MORE JACKPOTS, Oct. 9, 2015
- Texas authorities had previously investigated brother of lottery cheat, Oct. 14, 2015
- Another $1.2M Hot Lotto jackpot rigged by Tipton, officials say, Nov. 21, 2015
- Jackpot-fixing investigation expands to more state lotteries, Dec. 18, 2015
- Prosecutors say Tipton rigged two jackpots he purchased tickets for in Kansas, Dec. 21, 2015
- Maine gives names of Hot Lotto winners to Iowa team looking into rigging scheme, Dec. 23, 2015
- S.C. Lottery assures public no computerized drawings used in state, Dec. 23, 2015
- Kansas lottery players questioning game's integrity, Dec. 23, 2015
- MUSL CHIEF OUSTED OVER JACKPOT-RIGGING SCANDAL, Dec. 23, 2015
- Lottery scandal unlikely to affect New Mexico, official says, Dec. 26, 2015
- Tipton granted delay in next trial until July, Dec. 29, 2015
- Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich to answer lottery player questions live Monday evening, Jan. 11, 2016
- First lawsuit in state lottery-fixing scandal seeks millions, Feb. 4, 2016
- MUSL seeks to dismiss lawsuit over rigged jackpot, Apr. 1, 2016
- Lottery scammer's brother facing criminal charges, Apr. 6, 2016
- Investigators find Tipton's software code to rig computerized lottery drawings, Apr. 7, 2016
- Lottery rigging scandal prompts security audit in South Dakota, Apr. 13, 2016
- Preliminary hearing rescheduled for Tommy Tipton in lottery rigging case, Apr. 22, 2016
- Third suspect surrenders in national lottery rigging scandal, Apr. 28, 2016
- Lottery scam investigation comes to Tennessee, May 11, 2016
- Investigators find another friend of Tipton who cashed rigged lottery prize, May 11, 2016
- Convicted computerized drawing fraudster argues Iowa court appeal, Jun. 16, 2016
- US Senate panel demands info in lottery scandal, Jun. 22, 2016
- Lottery rigging trial to be moved out of Des Moines, Jun. 27, 2016
- Eddie Tipton's new trial delayed until 2017, Jul. 1, 2016
- Iowa court reverses part of Tipton's lottery fraud conviction, Jul. 28, 2016
- Internal investigation concludes Tipton acted alone to rig lottery drawings, Aug. 10, 2016
- Prosecutors say 2 more men may be linked to lottery riggings, Aug. 24, 2016
- Judge: winner's lawsuit in lottery-fixing case can continue, Oct. 13, 2016
- Alleged lottery scandal conspirator to enter new plea, Nov. 14, 2016
- Accused lottery rigger Eddie Tipton facing new Wisconsin charges, Dec. 22, 2016
- Man files lawsuit over rigged lottery jackpots, Jan. 4, 2017
- Trials for Tipton brothers charged in lottery scandal delayed, Jan. 8, 2017
- Former MUSL official received severance amid lottery jackpot scandal, Jan. 10, 2017
- Texas man pleads guilty to fraud in lottery scandal case, Jan. 11, 2017
- Iowa Supreme Court hears lottery rigging case, Feb. 14, 2017
- Kansas files lawsuit against accused lottery rigger, Mar. 16, 2017
- Best friend to testify against Tipton at July lottery rigging trial, Mar. 31, 2017
- Mastermind of lottery fraud will explain how he rigged jackpots, Jun. 12, 2017
- FBI missed rigged jackpot in 2006 before lottery scheme grew, Jun. 19, 2017
- The 5 lottery jackpots Tipton and his friends stole, Jun. 20, 2017
- Lottery jackpot rigger's Iowa convictions dismissed, Jun. 23, 2017
- IT'S OFFICIAL: Tipton pleads guilty to rigging computerized lottery drawings, Jun. 29, 2017
- Lottery rigging accomplice used Wisconsin payout for offshore tax scam, Jul. 6, 2017
- Hot Lotto multi-state lottery game to end in October, Aug. 9, 2017
- Lottery rigging mastermind sentenced to 25 years in prison, Aug. 22, 2017
- Winner sues Colorado Lottery 12 years after rigged drawing, Oct. 5, 2017
- Lottery scammer rigged more drawings than first thought, records show, Feb. 19, 2018
- How a gaming geek with a checkered past pulled off the biggest lottery scam in U.S. history, Mar. 16, 2018
- Infamous lottery scammer says US computerized lottery drawings remain fatally flawed, Mar. 19, 2018
- Iowa Lottery wins International Gaming-Compliance award for work in lottery rigging investigation, Apr. 19, 2018
- The man who cracked the lottery, May 3, 2018
- Memo: Iowa Lottery kept selling games after security warning, Aug. 1, 2018
- Investigation finds lottery scamming Tipton brothers have repaid virtually nothing, Dec. 27, 2018
- Lawyers seek to depose lottery fraud mastermind in prison, Jan. 21, 2019
- Iowa lottery lawsuit granted class action, affecting 7.2 million tickets in 19 states, Jan. 28, 2019
- Colorado man who unwittingly split a $4.8M jackpot with scammer is fighting the Colorado Lottery, Apr. 15, 2019
- Lottery-scamming brothers avoid asset seizures by transferring property to their mother, Apr. 29, 2019
- Lottery winner can seek bigger prize at trial, judge rules, May 17, 2019
- Court rejects Colorado man's claim to full $4.8M lottery jackpot he unwittingly split with scammers, Jun. 21, 2019
- Lottery losers could get paid after lottery scam lawsuit settles for $4.3 million, Jul. 22, 2019
- Journalist faces subpoena in lawsuit over lottery scandal, Aug. 28, 2019
- Lawyers drop request for author's lottery scandal book notes, Aug. 28, 2019
- Website now accepting claims in $4.3 million lottery scam settlement, Sep. 9, 2019
- MUSL settles lawsuit with man who won Hot Lotto jackpot marred by rigging, Nov. 26, 2019
- MUSL paid $1.5 million to settle lawsuit over rigged jackpot, Dec. 9, 2019