By Blake Powers

Texas businessman Robert Rhodes pleaded guilty yesterday to a computer crime (a felony) in using inside info from friend and former Multi-State Lottery Association technology official Eddie Tipton, to win a 2007 $783,000 Wisconsin jackpot. Tipton wrote software used to randomly pick numbers for lottery games, allegedly supplied Rhodes with the winning combination for a MegaBucks game, and allegedly split the winnings with Rhodes.

A plea agreement was reached in which Rhodes must pay $409,000 in restitution and serve 6 months in home confinement in Texas. Rhodes provided a $250,000 check yesterday to begin paying back the Wisconsin Lottery.

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