Former Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chief Jailed for Taking Bribes

Former Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for accepting bribes related to the tribe’s plans to build a resort and casino in Taunton, according to the office of US attorney Rachael Rollins.

Rhode Island architecture and design firm owner David DeQuattro was also convicted Tuesday for his role in the scheme, Rollins reported.

Cromwell, 57, of Attleboro was sentenced to three years in prison and one year of probation. Meanwhile, DeQuattro, 56, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was sentenced to one year probation in home solitary confinement with electronic monitoring. Cromwell and DeQuattro were also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 and $50,000, respectively, the US attorney said.

During the trial, Cromwell was sentenced 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, the U.S. attorney said. Meanwhile, DeQuattro was convicted on one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an Indian tribal government. Cromwell still has four unresolved charges against him for allegedly filing a false tax return.

Although Cromwell was acquitted on the extortion counts, he was denied acquittal on the bribery counts, the US attorney said.

Cromwell was the president of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and chairman of the tribe’s gaming authority. DeQuattro’s architecture and design firm has signed a contract to be the Gaming Authority Owner’s Representative for the First Light Resort and Casino. According to the US Attorney, the tribe was building the First Light Resort and Casino in Taunton.

Cromwell accepted three bribes from DeQuattro in exchange for an agreement to protect DeQuattro’s company contract. One bribe was $10,000 in November 2015. The second bribe was for a Bowflex Revolution home gym in August 2016. And the third bribe was a stay of one weekend at an upscale Boston hotel in May 2017.

“Mr. Cromwell was elected to represent the 12,000 year old Wampanoag Tribe. He was privileged to lead the Mashpee Wampanoag people, who trusted him on every ballot. Rather than striving to better his community through honorable acts of service, he has dishonored his people and his position by accepting bribes for his own personal gain,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. Today’s sentencing will hold the Mashpee Wampanoag community accountable and close the door on this dark chapter in their rich history. Just last week I had the privilege of meeting tribal leaders in Mashpee. I look forward to continuing positive interactions and supporting educational and growth opportunities with Mashpee Tribe members. »

In November 2015, Cromwell received a check for $10,000 from DeQuattro. Cromwell deposited the check in a bank account for a company he created called One Nation Development LLC, the U.S. attorney said. According to the company’s website, One Nation Development was created to help Native American tribes grow economically. The website also claimed that the company had expertise in strategic planning, gaming, hospitality and legal services.

However, no one was employed at One Nation Development and Cromwell instead spent the $10,000 check on personal expenses.

A year later, in August 2016, Cromwell asked DeQuattro for exercise equipment. DeQuattro and his business partner bought a used Bowflex on Craigslist for $1,700 and sent it to Cromwell. Cromwell expressed disappointment that the equipment was used, the U.S. attorney said.

In May 2017, Cromwell texted DeQuattro in an attempt to get a free hotel room for his birthday weekend. DeQuattro and his business partner paid $1,800 for Cromwell to stay in an executive suite at the Seaport Boston Hotel, the U.S. attorney said.

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