The New Jersey deli owner who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot last week sliced off a piece of his prize to pay nearly $30,000 in back child support yesterday.
Pedro Quezada, 44, appeared in Passaic County Family Court in Paterson, NJ, and cut a certified check for the payments, rounding the total up from the $29,490 he owed dating to 2009.
The jackpot's sole winner has five children ages 5 to 23. Three are minors, his attorney said.
In court, the newly minted multimillionaire said he will be moving his kids into his new home.
"My children will be living with me from now on," said Quezada, who spoke through a Spanish interpreter and wore earphones to hear translations of the proceedings.
Because he chose the lump-sum option, Quezada received about $152 million last week after taxes.
It is the third-largest lump-sum payment in Powerball history.
Quezada beat 175 million-to-1 odds when he bought the winning ticket at a liquor store in Passaic using the Quick Pick method.
Normally, the state Lottery Division satisfies judgments and liens before the winnings are released but failed to do so this time.
Even though he's paid up, Quezada will continue to owe $141 in child support per week until he can petition the court and prove that his children are, in fact, living with him.
His lawyer, Paul Fernandez, said that the younger children had been living on and off with Quezada over the years and that their mother and Quezada were on good terms. He declined to elaborate.
"This is just a bump in a road. He always had a relationship with his kids," Fernandez said.
"He purposely overpaid to show how much he wanted to keep his children," the attorney added.
Judge Ernest Caposela offered Quezada some free financial advice.
"There are going to be a lot of people who are going to ask you to invest in things because of your good fortune," Caposela said, "but investing in your children is the wisest investment you can make."
After the hearing, Fernandez dismissed rumors that Quezada had offered to pay his neighbors' rent for a month or two.
"While his heart goes out to families in need," Fernandez said, "his family comes first." [Editor: this is not an outright denial.]
Fernandez, who is also handling Quezada's trust, said the now-retired deli owner from the Dominican Republican has other benevolent plans.
"He wants to set up a foundation for homeless children in the Dominican Republic and here."