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Ex-tribal chief convicted in casino bribery case

The former chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and the owner of an architecture and design firm in Providence, RI has been convicted of corruption related to the tribe’s plans to build a casino in Taunton, Mass.

This is according to an announcement from the US Department of Justice.

Cedric Cromwell, 57, of Attleboro, was sentenced by US District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock to three years in prison and one year on probation. David DeQuattro, 56, of Warwick, RI, was sentenced by Judge Woodlock to one year’s probation to be held in house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Cromwell and DeQuattro were also each ordered to pay fines amounting to $25,000 and $50,000, respectively.

On May 5, 2022, the defendants were convicted by a federal jury following a 10-day trial. Cromwell was found guilty of two counts of accepting bribes as an agent of an Indian tribal government, three counts of extortion under cover of official law and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.

DeQuattro was convicted on one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an Indian tribal government. Cromwell continues to face four remaining charges of filing a false tax return. At sentencing, Judge Woodlock granted Cromwell’s motion for acquittal on the extortion counts, but denied the defendants’ motions for acquittal on the bribery counts.

Cromwell was chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and chairman of the Tribe’s Gaming Authority. DeQuattro’s architecture and design firm signed a contract to serve as the Gaming Authority owner’s representative for the First Light Resort and Casino, which the tribe was building in Taunton.

Cromwell accepted three bribes from DeQuattro in exchange for an agreement to protect DeQuattro’s business contract: $10,000 in November 2015, a Bowflex Revolution home gym in August 2016, and a weekend end at a Boston hotel in May 2017. DeQuattro was found guilty of bribing Cromwell in regards to the Bowflex and the hotel stay.

According to evidence presented at trial, in November 2015, Cromwell received a personal check for $10,000 from DeQuattro and deposited it into a bank account for a company he started called One Nation Development. SARL. Cromwell’s website describes One Nation Development as helping Native American tribes grow economically. The website boasted experience in strategic planning, gaming, hospitality and legal services.

Prosecutors said One Nation Development had no employees and Cromwell spent DeQuattro’s check on personal expenses.

In August 2016, Cromwell asked DeQuattro for exercise equipment. In turn, DeQuattro and his business partner purchased a used Bowflex on Craigslist for $1,700 and had it delivered to Cromwell’s home. Cromwell told DeQuattro he was disappointed he was used.

In May 2017, Cromwell texted DeQuattro: “Hello Dave. I hope everything is okay. My birthday is coming up this Friday May 19th and I wanted to spend Friday thru Monday at a very nice hotel in Boston for my birthday weekend. Is it possible you can get me a nice hotel room at the Four Seasons or a suite at the Seaport Hotel? I will have a special guest with me. Please let me know and thank you. DeQuattro forwarded the text to his business partner, writing, “You can’t think of that stuff…..what’s next?”

DeQuattro and his business partner paid more than $1,800 for Cromwell to stay in a King – Harbor View Executive Suite at the Seaport Boston Hotel for three nights.

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