A decade after Colorado engineer Amir Massihzadeh hit the lottery, two state agents visited him with stunning news: He was likely the only legitimate winner of a $4.8 million jackpot he’d had to split three ways. They told the Boulder resident that the other two people who had won the 2005 drawing were linked to a conspiracy in which a lottery insider and several cohorts had rigged drawings in several states. Now Massihzadeh, 62, is suing for the rest of the winnings, per the AP. He filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Colorado State Lottery, arguing he should be declared the sole winner and that the $800,000 cash prize he opted to receive ($568,900 after taxes) should have been tripled. Accounting for 12 years of interest, he is seeking about $4 million from the lottery for what he calls a breach of contract.
It’s the latest headache for state lotteries caused by former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director Eddie Tipton, who admitted to manipulating the software used so that he could predict winning numbers on certain days of the year. “Even though [Tipton and his accomplices] have agreed to repay the money they received from the Lottery, the Lottery has refused to honor its obligation to Mr. Massihzadeh,” his lawsuit says. Colorado lottery spokeswoman Kelly Tabor declined to comment on the lawsuit, which is the third to claim players were cheated by Tipton’s scheme. Hundreds of thousands of people who bought tickets on dates in which Tipton could predict winning numbers are pursuing a class-action lawsuit seeking refunds, arguing those drawings weren’t truly random. Tipton is serving a 25-year prison term.