Pedro Quezada, winner of a $338 million Powerball lottery prize in March 2013, is being sued by his ex-girlfriend for a greater share of the winnings. In the course of the legal proceedings, Quezada’s lawyer made public an interesting tidbit: Quezada has sent a whopping $57 million to the Dominican Republic. It’s a high-profile and big-ticket example of an everyday phenomenon where immigrants to the U.S. send a total of billions and billions of dollars back to their country of origin.
Often this type of donation — known as a “remittance” — is given to help support relatives back home. Remittances are often sent through money transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. And according to the World Bank, these types of money transfers are expected to grow by 6.3 percent to a staggering $414 billion in developing countries this year.
The $57 million is an extreme example. But the smaller sums that people wire to their families back home can make an enormous impact on an economy. Take Tajikistan, for instance. According to a World Bank forecast, 48 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP in 2012 came from remittances, topping the global chart in that category.
India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Nigeria top the chart in the total amount of remittances received. India benefited from $71 billion of remittances. And according to the Times of India, that’s three times the total amount invested by foreign companies in all of India in 2012.
If you’re curious about where the rest of his hefty hunk of change went, here’s the breakdown from Quezada’s lawyer, via the AP:
“Sanchez’s attorney says that a large chunk of the lottery winnings is already gone, claiming $57 million has been sent to Quezada’s native Dominican Republic, $5 million was given away, $300,000 was spent on the home in Clifton, and $20 million can’t be located, the newspaper reported.”
Do you send money to friends or family who live in another country? Did your parents? Share your stories in the comments, or let us know using this form.