PASSAIC, New Jersey — A former bodega owner who hit it big with one of the largest Powerball jackpots in history has been charged with sexually assaulting a child over a three year period, authorities said.
Pedro Quezada, 49, who won $338 million in 2013 is accused of assaulting the female victim when she was between the ages of 11 and 14, Passaic County prosecutors said. They said it did not appear that there were other victims. It was not made public Quezada’s relation to the victim.
When Quezada scored his big win, he was naturally overwhelmed, but said he intended to help people.
” I felt pure joy and happiness because I can help my family,” he sai when he officially claimed the prize at New Jersey lottery headquarters. “My life will change because of it — so much money –but it will not change my heart.”
Lottery officials said Quezada opted for a $211 million lump-sum payout that dropped to $152 million after taxes were taken out.
Similar to some other big lotto winners, Quezada’s life took some rocky turns after he took home the big jackpot.
Eight months after winning, his girlfriend of 10 years and the mother of one of his five kids,sued saying he wasn’t sharing the winnings with her. Neighbors also accused him of reneging on a deal to pay their rent for a month. His former landlord also said Quezada never paid him more the $7,000 he owed in back rent.
If convicted, Quezada faces up to 40 years in prison.