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New Jersey man claims winning ticket in $338 million Powerball lottery

by

By Dave Warner

(Reuters) - A New Jersey convenience store owner has stepped forward to claim the winning ticket in the $338 million Powerball lottery, several media reported on Monday.

Pedro Quezada, 44, walked into a Passaic, New Jersey, liquor store where the winning ticket was sold and handed a ticket over to be validated late Monday afternoon, The Bergen Record newspaper reported.

The owner of the store scanned Quezada's ticket and a message of "Jackpot!" appeared, NBC 4 New York reported.

"I'm very happy," Quezada, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, told reporters in Spanish. He said he is a father of five.

Earlier on Monday, the New Jersey Lottery said the winning ticket had been validated at the New Jersey store but said it didn't know the winner's name.

The winning ticket could be claimed as a lump sum payment of $211 million. Lottery officials said the $338 million pot was the fourth largest in Powerball history.

The winning ticket was sold on Saturday at Passaic's Eagle Liquor store. Manager Ram Yadav said the store sells a half dozen or so winners each year and last year had a $159,000 winner.

"The neighborhood says this store is a lucky store all the time," Yadav said. "I feel good that I made somebody lucky."

Eagle Liquor gets $10,000 as the seller of the winning ticket.

Passaic is struggling economically. Nearly one in three of its nearly 70,000 residents lives in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The record jackpot for Powerball nationally was $587.5 million in 2012, lottery officials said.

(Additional reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Xavier Briand)

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