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Monday, November 11, 2013
Girlfriend Sues Over Powerball Win for $338 Million: Money Changes People, Says Judge

Girlfriend Sues Over Powerball Win for $338 Million: Money Changes People, Says Judge

A girlfriend is suing over a Powerball win by her ex-boyfriend, according to reports. Pedro Quezada of Clifton, N.J. won a $338 million jackpot last spring, but his former longtime girlfriend and business partner, Ines Sanchez, attempted to gain access to the money legally.

Quezada and Sanchez lived together for 10 years, owning and operating a Passaic convenience store and raising a child as well. Quezada purchased the Powerball ticket and won, opting for a $211 million lump sum and receiving $152 million after taxes.

Sanchez moved out of their new home recently and decided to sue her ex-boyfriend for more access to the money. She believed her longtime devotion to Quezada and her contributions to the household gave her claim to the money, but a judge argued the opposite, saying she should have gotten it in writing.

"Our legislature has spoken. It specifically said, 'For these types of arrangements, relationships, to be upheld there needs to be a writing. You cannot go forward with these types of relationships without something in writing," Superior Court Chancery Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh said Friday.

Although the judge didn't completely dismiss the lawsuit, she denied Sanchez's request to freeze Quezada's assets. Quezada has been on quite the spending spree since he acquired his newfound wealth, sending $57 million to his homeland, the Dominican Republic, giving away $5 million and spending $300,000 on a new home in Clifton. $20 million of the lottery money can't be located, according to Sanchez's lawyer Michael De Marco.

"I think we're kidding ourselves to say we'll ever see any of that money again," De Marco told the judge. "If he is permitted to continue this course of conduct, there will be nothing left to talk about."

However, Quezada's attorney Jonathan W. Wolfe argued that Sanchez watched her boyfriend sign the claim at the lottery commission alone and had no objection then.

"Mr. Quezada individually went and purchased that ticket. They had never agreed to share the proceeds," Wolfe explained. "If she believed she had no claim then, she can't come here saying this now."

New Jersey has no common law legislation, which gave the judge little legal room to restrain Quezada's spending. McVeigh said the case can be used as an example of the dangers of money.

"That's what money does to people: it changes positive relationships into bad ones," the judge said. "[Sanchez's] life has been upended by this winning ticket … But I am a judge. I don't create the law. I have to follow it."

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