PATERSON, N.J. - A former bodega owner who will be pocketing $152 million in lottery winnings has paid up $30,000 in back child support with a promise from his lawyer he will "do what's right for his children."
A judge on Monday gave Pedro Quezada some advice and a warning when he appeared in court.
"There are going to be a lot of people who are going to ask you to invest in things because of your good fortune," state Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela told Quezada, "but investing in your children is the wisest investment you can make."
The 44-year-old Quezada, clad in a gray sweat shirt, dark blue pants and sneakers, used a Spanish translator during the court hearing and told Caposela that the three children would be living with him from now on. The children's mother didn't attend the hearing. She lives out of state, Caposela said, but didn't say where.
Quezada left the courthouse without commenting, but his lawyer, Paul Fernandez, said his client wanted to put the matter behind him and move on with his life.
"He plans to do what's conservative, he plans to do what's right for his children," said Fernandez, whose law offices are in Paterson. "He's a family man."
When asked about reports that Quezada had offered to pay his neighbors' rents for a month or two, Fernandez said that was "just a rumor," but didn't elaborate.
Several neighbors on the short, dead-end block that sits between a highway and rubble-strewn lot said Monday that they had only heard of the alleged offer through news reports. David Guzman said he'd texted his landlord when heard the news but that the landlord hadn't heard anything.
"If my landlord didn't even know, then I highly doubt it; it's probably just a bunch of publicity to keep the whole thing going," the 22-year-old Guzman said.
Quezada was the lone winner of the March 23 Powerball drawing and claimed a lump-sum payment last week worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes.