A Look At The Top NJ Lottery Winners With $1 Billion Powerball Jackpot At Stake

Written By Hannah Vanbiber on July 19, 2023 - Last Updated on December 12, 2023
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Well, New Jersey Powerball players, are you ready for Wednesday? Could we see any new NJ jackpot winners? The Powerball is up to $1 billion for Wednesday’s drawing, with a cash option of $516.8 million.

That’s the third-biggest jackpot in Powerball history. The two that beat it?

  1. $2.04 billion: Nov. 8, 2022 – California
  2. $1.586 billion: Jan. 13, 2016 – split by three tickets from California, Florida, and Tennessee

If no one wins on Wednesday, the total will go up, and we could eventually see an all-time record.

The history-making moment got us curious – who are the top NJ lottery jackpot winners in Powerball history?

Top NJ lottery Powerball jackpot winners in history

Sadly, in the top Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots in US history, none of the top ten winners were from New Jersey.

1. $2.04 billionPowerballNov. 7, 2022California
2. $1.586 billionPowerballJan. 13, 2016California, Florida and Tennessee
3. $1.537 billionMega MillionsOct. 23, 2018South Carolina
4. $1.35 billionMega MillionsJan. 13, 2023Maine
5. $1.337 billionMega MillionsJuly 29, 2022Illinois
6. $1.05 billionMega MillionsJan. 22, 2021Michigan
7. $1 billionPowerballCurrent jackpotTBD
8. $768.4 millionPowerballMarch 27, 2019Wisconsin
9. $758.7 millionPowerballAug. 23, 2017Massachusetts
10. $754.6 millionPowerballFeb. 6, 2023Washington

But that doesn’t mean NJ jackpot winners haven’t made massive wins.

Here are some of the top winners in Powerball history who bought their tickets right here in the Garden State. We’ll count down to the biggest of them all.

Tayeb Souami – $315.3 million

Tayeb Souami was a 55-year-old accountant from Little Ferry. Souami won the Powerball in 2018 when it reached a total of over $315.3 million. He chose the cash payout option, which came out to $183.2 million before taxes.

Pedro Quezada – $338.3 million

A former Passaic native and owner of Apple Deli Grocery, Pedro Quezada, won the Powerball in 2013 when he was 45 years old. The total jackpot reached $338.3 million when Quezada became the sole winner with a ticket he purchased from his own store.

It was no happy ending for Quezada, however. In 2017, the Dominican immigrant and father of five was charged with sexually assaulting a girl for three years, beginning when she was 11. While the assault charge was dismissed, Quezada received one year of probation for endangering the welfare of a child.

Pearlie Mae Smith – $429.6 million

Pearlie Mae Smith was 70 years old when she won the Powerball jackpot in 2016. She purchased two tickets from a 7-Eleven in Trenton and used the Power Play option for an extra dollar on each. She was the sole winner of the $429.6 million jackpot. The prize came to her family in a lump sum of $284 million before taxes.  She says she got her lucky numbers in a dream.

She and her family then helped the dreams of others, giving 10% of the winnings to the church where Smith served as a pastor, $8 million to start a family grant-making foundation and another $750,000 to build a new church in Bridgeton.

Ocean’s 16 – $448.4 million

A group of Ocean County vehicle maintenance employees won the biggest Powerball jackpot of anyone in New Jersey, a group dubbed as the Ocean’s 16. They held two out of the three winning tickets for a $448.4 million Powerball jackpot, with the third going to a ticket in Minnesota.

Each of the 16 winners in the NJ group cashed out with $3.8 million dollars after taxes. The lottery win came at a critical time, with each of them dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Sandy. Some said they used the money to buy new homes and help sick family members.

Here’s to hoping Wednesday’s winning ticket comes from New Jersey. If so, it would easily become the biggest NJ lottery Powerball jackpot in history. The next draw is Wednesday, July 19, at 10:59 p.m. ET. Get your tickets now, either at verified New Jersey Lottery retailers or through the Jackpocket NJ online lottery app.

Photo by Keith Srakocic / AP Photo
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Written by
Hannah Vanbiber

Hannah Vanbiber is a contributing writer for PlayNJ after starting her journalism career in Chattanooga, Tennessee. From covering local sports, entertainment and business in East Tennessee, Hannah now covers legal gambling for New Jersey and New York as well as covering women's sports and sports betting in the New York metropolitan area.

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