PASSAIC, N.J. — The New Jersey man who won last week’s $338 million Powerball jackpot paid $30,000 in unpaid child support Monday in advance of a court appearance to satisfy an outstanding warrant.
Wearing a zip-down gray sweater, Pedro Quezada entered a Passaic County courtroom Monday that was buzzing with reporters and television cameras. Quezada was flanked by eight men. Who they were could not be immediately confirmed. Quezada spoke through a Spanish-language interpreter during the brief hearing.
A Passaic County Superior Court judge had put a stay on a child support warrant for Quezada, 44, and ordered him to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Monday, said William Maer, spokesman for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department.
Quezada is the father of five and owed approximately $29,000 in child support, according to authorities. However, the child support payments were only for three of those children.
“You’re a special person now because of the good fortune you’ve had. But invest in your children. That’s the best investment you can make,” said Passaic County state Superior Court Judge Ernest M. Caposela, who heads the Family Division.
Quezada nodded as the judge spoke.
Caposela noted that the sole purpose of Monday’s proceeding was to review Quezada’s past debt and bring it up to date. Any modification to the current $141-a-week payment schedule must be requested through a separate legal motion, filed by either the children’s mother or Quezada himself.
“The only purpose of this proceeding today was to collect the arrearage,” the judge added. “I commend you for doing that today — for paying in full.”
Quezada told the judge that the children at issue would be coming to live with him. The judge said if that is true, he needs his attorney to file a modification motion to address future support payments.
The children’s mother was not present at Monday’s hearing.
Outside the courthouse, Quezada’s attorney, Paul Fernandez, told reporters gathered that the due child support was “behind him now.”
“He’s paid and overpaid the amount that was due,” he said. “He is thankful this is over with. His children are with him. He’s a family man and this is all concluded.”
Fernandez said reports that Quezada will pay neighbors’ rent on the street he and family members have run a bodega for years on Eighth Street are rumors. His client will not be paying rent for them.
He said his client plans to continue to take care of his children and protect them from unnecessary attention.
“He plans to do what is conservative and right for his family,” Fernandez said. “His kids come first.”
“We understand anxiety he’s been through,” he added. “He just wants to shelter his children from any needless attention.”
Quezada, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic 26 years ago, has said his children range in age from 5 to 23 years in age, and that some live in North Carolina.
Quezada officially claimed his winnings in Trenton, N.J., last week, a day after verifying the winning ticket at Eagle Liquors the Passaic Street store where he had purchased the lotto ticket.
Judith Druker, spokesperson for the New Jersey Lottery, said last week that it takes between two and three weeks for the winner to receive their winnings. She said during that time a check is done for any unpaid taxes, liens, and child support owed. She said money owed is deducted from the prize given to the winner.
Quezada chose a lump sum payment, which would amount to $152 million after state and federal taxes.