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New Jersey man says he won $338 million Powerball purse

By CNN Staff
March 26, 2013 -- Updated 1355 GMT (2155 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A New Jersey man says he's the $338 million Powerball winner
  • NEW: Liquor store owner says the customer brought in the winning ticket
  • NEW: Lottery officials won't confirm the winner's identity until the prize is claimed
  • The winner chose the up-front cash option and will net about $151 million

Passaic, New Jersey (CNN) -- Neighbors gathered around Eagle Liquors on Monday were sizing each other up as they waited to hear which one of them just struck it rich.

"Everyone is saying, 'Is it you? Is it you?' It's a cat and mouse game," Robert Ash said. "Everyone's coming together, smiling, trying to figure out who it is."

New Jersey lottery officials say the single winning ticket for Saturday night's $338 million Powerball jackpot came from Eagle, a nondescript brown storefront on Passaic Street. Lottery officials haven't confirmed the identity of the winner, but Pedro Quezada says he's that man.

For winner, unexpected change can come with those dollars

Quezada stopped by the store Monday afternoon, mobbed by camera crews, and store owner Sunil Sethi told CNN that Quezada presented the winning ticket earlier in the day.

Lottery spokeswoman Judith Drucker confirmed that the winning ticket was brought into the store, and the holder left with the form needed to claim the prize. But the agency won't confirm the identity of the winner until the forms are filed, Drucker said.

Sethi said his customers have been winners before -- but not with a jackpot this big.

"This was the biggest of ever," he said. "Like a dream ticket. You want to sell it as a store owner, and we did that."

At the time the ticket was bought, the winner chose the up-front cash option instead of an annuity. The lump sum will be $211 million; after federal and state taxes, the winner will net about $151 million, New Jersey Executive Director Carole Hedinger said.

The ticket matched all six numbers drawn: 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and the Powerball, 31.

The largest jackpot in Powerball history was $587.5 million. The lottery is held in 42 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington.

Why you keep playing the lottery

CNN's Pamela Brown, Julian Cummings, AnneClaire Stapleton and Vivienne Foley contributed to this report.

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