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NJ $338M Jackpot Winner Reveals Plans

New Jersey lottery officials say the Dominican immigrant who won the $338 million Powerball lottery has decided to take the payment in one lump sum.

That means 45-year-old Pedro Quezada will receive about $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes.

Quezada appeared at New Jersey lottery headquarters Tuesday to officially claim the prize, a day after learning he had the winning ticket.

He appeared with his wife, Ines Sanchez, his four brothers, and two nephews. Quezada and his wife, who is from Tlaxcala, Mexico, have been married nine years.

Quezada says his mind isn’t clear enough yet to figure out what he will do with the money. But he says he could use a car. Asked what kind of car he has now, he said, “My feet.”

Son Discusses Father’s Plans

The son of a Dominican immigrant who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot said Tuesday he knows his father will “do something good with the money.

Eagle Liquors in Passaic
Eagle Liquors in Passaic (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media)

Casiano Quezada also said his family plans to keep open the Passaic bodega they have run for years.

Quezada’s father, Pedro, showed up late Monday at the liquor store in Passaic where he purchased the ticket to have it validated.

Speaking in Spanish, Quezada, who has five children, told reporters at the grocery Monday that he was very happy and that he intends to help his family.

Casiano said he is proud of his father and still in disbelief that he won the jackpot.

 

“I know he’s going to do something good with the money,” he said from behind the counter of the family bodega, the Apple Deli Grocery — maybe open another store.

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “It’s something that happened and you just have to take it as it is.”

Pedro Quezada’s neighbors see a lot of themselves in the winner: hardworking, a family man, an immigrant, and someone who has known hard times.That’s why they were so thrilled that one of their own has finally struck it rich.

“This is super for all of us on this block,” said Eladia Vazquez, who has lived across the street from Quezada’s building for the past 25 years. Quezada and his family “deserve it because they are hardworking people.”

The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It’s the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history.

The Quezada family’s apartment sits at the end of a short dead end block that abuts a highway in Passaic, 15 miles northwest of New York City.

The block has a half-dozen three-story brick apartment buildings on each side, and Vazquez said it’s a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone, including what car they drive and what parking space they use.

Fellow Dominican immigrant Jose Gonzalez said he barbecues and plays dominoes with Quezada in the summers in a backyard on their street.

“He sometimes would work from six in the morning to 11 at night, so I did not see him much,” Gonzalez said in Spanish Monday night. “I am happy for him. … I don’t know where he is now but I imagine he will drop by to say hi to his friends.”

Neighbors told The Record newspaper that the Quezada family has suffered bad luck in recent years. Two years ago, thieves broke into their apartment and stole everything from clothing to jewelry. The year before, a fire destroyed much of their bodega, they said.

The largest Powerball jackpot ever came in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers were picked on two different tickets — one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man — and the jackpot was split.

Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket — $365 million — by eight workers at a Lincoln meatpacking plant in February 2006.

Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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