One of New Jersey’s richest Powerball winners was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a child, prosecutors said, landing him on a growing list of lottery winners who have either befallen misfortune or been accused of a crime.
Pedro Quezada, 49, won $338 million — one of the state’s biggest Powerball jackpots in history — in 2013. He was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexually assaulting a young girl for about three years when the child was between 11 and 14 years old, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes said in a statement.
The alleged crimes took place before Quezada won the lottery, prosecutors said. Quezada faces 40 years in prison if he’s convicted. His lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.
In light of the latest accusation, here are four other lottery winners who allegedly turned to crime:
Ronnie Music Jr.
Georgia lottery winner Ronnie Music Jr. was sent to prison this year after he won $3 million in a scratch-off lottery game and then used his new windfall of cash to buy a trove of methamphetamine to sell, federal officials said. In April, the 46-year-old was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for his role in a massive drug trafficking ring. Authorities said, in at least one instance, Music supplied more than 10 pounds of meth to dealers in Georgia. “This case has received a great deal of light-hearted coverage because of Mr. Music’s unsound investment decision to buy crystal meth with his lottery winnings,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jim Durham said in a statement. “The truth of the matter is this: Mr. Music is a predator who has destroyed lives by pushing poison and fear.” Music won the lottery in 2015.
Willie Hurt of Michigan won $3.1 million after playing the state’s Super Lotto in the summer of 1989. But two years later, he lost all his money and was accused of murder, according to the Associated Press. Authorities had accused Hurt of fatally shooting a 30-year-old woman in the head after a dispute over him not having crack cocaine to consume, the AP reported at the time. It’s unclear what happened to Hurt and the murder charge. The Michigan district court, which had last ordered Hurt to undergo a psychiatric evaluation nearly three decades ago, directed comment to another circuit court on Thursday, which did not immediately respond.
In 2012, Amanda Clayton, a 25-year-old Michigan lottery winner, was charged with felony welfare fraud for collecting on food stamps despite her $1 million winnings on the game show Make Me Rich!, according to the Detroit Free Press. She was sentenced to nine months of probation for the crime, but police said she later died from a possible drug overdose, the Press reported at the time. Clayton had sparked anger and a criminal investigation when it was discovered she was still taking food stamps after her lucky break.
Freddie Young of Detroit split a $46 million jackpot in February 2011, according to CBS Detroit. Three months later, he was accused of killing 45-year-old Greg McNicol, the landlord to Young’s daughter, following an argument the landlord had with his daughter over unpaid rent, the news station reported. Young was later convicted of fatally shooting McNicol and was sentenced in 2012 to at least 25 years in prison.