By Jamie Leary
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– A Boulder man is suing the Colorado Lottery, claiming the organization owes him the full jackpot from a 2005 win, in which he had the only legitimate ticket.
There were three winners in the 2005 lottery with a total pot of $4.8 million. Two of the winners happened to be part of a massive conspiracy to rig the system. As it turned out, Amir Massihzadeh, 62, did have the only legitimate winning ticket.
A man who helped write the computer code behind several U.S. lotteries, including some of its biggest, pleaded guilty in June to masterminding a scheme through which he rigged the winning numbers for jackpots in several states and collected millions of dollars.
Eddie Tipton admitted in court that he provided cohorts with the winning numbers for jackpots in Colorado in 2005, Wisconsin in December of 2007, Kansas in December of 2010 and Oklahoma in 2011. His brother was also in on the deal.
“He was an innocent bystander in a very large scheme that was eventually uncovered,” said Sean Duffy, a spokesperson for Massihzadeh. “All he’s saying now is that this has been settled and the Tipton brothers have admitted… and the state’s getting its money back. So it’s a question of basic fairness.”
Accounting for 12 years of interest, Amir is seeking about $4 million from the lottery for what he calls a breach of contract. His legal team has one big question for the state of Colorado.
“We said, ‘Why can’t you just pay the man?’” said Duffy.
CBS4 had the same question but the state said it could not comment on ongoing litigation.
“It’s pretty simple, you know, if I have a ticket in my hand and it’s got the numbers that match, I am owed a prize and I think most people believe that to be true. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the Colorado Lottery is now saying that’s not true. We hope a judge helps them think differently,” said Duffy.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.