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$338M Powerball winner busted for child sex assault

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He went from rags to riches — to handcuffs.

The New Jersey bodega owner who famously won a $338 million Powerball jackpot is now behind bars on charges he sexually assaulted a young girl, authorities said Wednesday.

Pedro Quezada, 49 — who hit the big one in 2013 and appeared on the cover of The Post with the headline “PAY-DRO” — allegedly victimized the girl for three years when she was between the ages of 11 and 14, Passaic County prosecutor Camelia Valdes said.

The child’s connection to Quezada was not immediately clear.

The Powerball winner, who now lives in Wayne, was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said.
After winning one of the highest-ever Powerball jackpots in New Jersey, Quezada, the ex-owner of the Apple Deli Grocery, took a lump-sum, post-tax payment of $152 million.

When he found out he held the winning ticket, “I felt pure joy and happiness because I can help my family,” the Dominican native said back on March 26, 2013, while claiming his prize.

“My life will change because it — so much money,” Quezada said, “but it will not change my heart.”

Quezada, who beat the 175-million-to-1 odds when he bought the winning ticket at a liquor store in Passaic, said at the time he was “very happy” and vowed to help his family.

“My family is a very humble family, and we are going to help each other out,” he was quoted saying.

Nearly $30,000 of his winnings were used at the time to pay child-support payments that he had owed since 2009.

Quezada again made headlines when his girlfriend of 10 years, Inez Sanchez, also the mother of one of his five children, had sued him for a cut of his winnings.

Sanchez eventually dropped the lawsuit.

Following his big win, Quezada’s Passaic landlord at the time claimed his tenant skipped out of town without paying the $7,250 rent that he owed.

“It doesn’t get any lower than that,” his ex-landlord Kujtim Sulejamni told the Daily Mail at the time.

Neighbors also charged that Quezada reneged on a promise to pay the rent for all the neighbors on his block for more than a month.

“He promised the whole street, but he never followed through,” his former neighbor Serafim Ariza told the Daily Mail.

If convicted on all three charges, Quezada could face 40 years in prison.

Quezada’s lawyer, Rafael Bentancourt, did not respond to a request for comment.

He went from rags to riches — to handcuffs. The New Jersey bodega owner who famously won a $338 million Powerball jackpot is now behind bars on charges he…

A Windfall For A New Jersey Man And The Dominican Republic

Pedro Quezada, the winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot, sent $57 million of his winnings to the Dominican Republic, according to his lawyer. Julio Cortez/AP hide caption

Pedro Quezada, the winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot, sent $57 million of his winnings to the Dominican Republic, according to his lawyer.

Pedro Quezada, winner of a $338 million Powerball lottery prize in March 2013, is being sued by his ex-girlfriend for a greater share of the winnings. In the course of the legal proceedings, Quezada’s lawyer made public an interesting tidbit: Quezada has sent a whopping $57 million to the Dominican Republic. It’s a high-profile and big-ticket example of an everyday phenomenon where immigrants to the U.S. send a total of billions and billions of dollars back to their country of origin.

This type of donation — known as a “remittance” — is frequently given to help support relatives back home. Remittances are often sent through money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram. And according to the World Bank, these types of money transfers are expected to grow by 6.3 percent to a staggering $414 billion in developing countries this year.

The $57 million is an extreme example. But the smaller sums that people wire to their families back home can make an enormous impact on an economy. Take Tajikistan, for instance. According to a World Bank forecast, 48 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP in 2012 came from remittances, topping the global chart in that category.

India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Nigeria top the chart in the total amount of remittances received. India benefited from $71 billion of remittances. And according to the Times of India, that’s three times the total amount invested by foreign companies in all of India in 2012.

If you’re curious about where the rest of his hefty hunk of change went, here’s the breakdown from Quezada’s lawyer, via the AP:

“Sanchez’s attorney says that a large chunk of the lottery winnings is already gone, claiming $57 million has been sent to Quezada’s native Dominican Republic, $5 million was given away, $300,000 was spent on the home in Clifton, and $20 million can’t be located, the newspaper reported.”

Do you send money to friends or family who live in another country? Did your parents? Share your stories in the comments, or let us know using this form.

Pedro Quezada sent $57 million of his $338 million lottery winnings to the Dominican Republic. It’s a high-profile example of an everyday phenomenon where immigrants to the U.S. send billions back to their home country.