LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – A working-class Dominican father of five from New Jersey, who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot, owes approximately $29,000 in child support and is subject to arrest.
Authorities stopped by Pedro Quezada’s Passaic apartment on Wednesday, one day after the 45-year-old claimed a lump-sum payment worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. No one answered the door.
In an e-mail, Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik told The Record newspaper the state Lottery Division would satisfy the judgment before the winnings are released. Berdnik said Quezada is subject to arrest like everyone else until the warrant is satisfied.
A Sheriff’s Department spokesman said the unpaid child support payments go back to 2009. It’s not known which of Quezada’s five children are mentioned in the warrant. His children are anywhere from 5 to 23 years old, and he has said some of his children live in North Carolina.
Quezada appeared at a press conference Wednesday to collect his check alongside his brothers and Mexican wife. He took questions from reporters but was scant on details about his personal life, especially about his life in the Dominican Republic, where he lived before he moved to the U.S. at 19.
While mum on his family life in his hometown of Jarabacoa, a New York Daily News report Thursday said Quezada grew up in a one-story wooden house with his parents and four siblings. His father worked as a cop and his mother was a stay-at-home mom.
One of Quezada's nieces, Eliana Quezada, 26, who lives in the Dominican Republic, said she is happy for her uncle and hopes to introduce her kids to him one day.
"I would not ask for anything material," she told the Daily News. "I would like to see my family on my father's side."
Quezada found out he won big when he stopped at Eagle liquor store in Passaic on Monday to check his lottery numbers.
His wife is Mexican. He had owned a bodega in Passaic since 2006, working 15-hour days for the past six years, which he called “difficult.” His small store is now up for sale.
Flanked by his brothers and his wife on Wednesday, Quezada spoke about playing the lottery two or three times a week. Sometimes he would choose his own numbers, other times he would do Quick Picks, like he did for the winning ticket. Despite winning the jackpot on Monday, the Dominican immigrant said he will continue to play the lottery.
“I’m searching for another win,” he said.
He jokingly said the number of cousins he has “keeps growing” since he claimed his prize.
“My life will change because it’s so much money,” Quezada said, “but it will not change my heart.”
Follow us on twitter.com/foxnewslatino
Like us at facebook.com/foxnewslatino