The former chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and the owner of an architecture and design firm in Providence were convicted on Tuesday of corruption charges related to the tribe’s plans to build a resort and casino in Taunton, according to the office. by American lawyer Rachael Rollins.
Cedric Cromwell, 57, of Attleboro, was sentenced to three years in prison and one year of probation. David DeQuattro, 56, of Warwick, RI, was sentenced to one year’s probation to be held in house arrest with electronic monitoring.
Cromwell served as president of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and chairman of the Tribe’s Gaming Authority, while DeQuattro’s architecture and design firm signed a contract to serve as the owner’s representative of the Gaming Authority for the First Light Resort and Casino. , which the tribe was building in Taunton, officials said. Cromwell reportedly accepted three bribes from DeQuattro in exchange for an agreement to protect DeQuattro’s business contract.
“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 to better his community through honorable acts of service, he dishonored his people and his position by accepting bribes for his own personal gain,” Rollins said in a statement.
DeQuattro reportedly paid Cromwell $10,000 in November 2015, bought a Bowflex Revolution home gym for Cromwell in August 2016, and paid for a weekend at an upscale Boston hotel in May 2017.
Cromwell was found guilty of two counts of accepting bribes, three counts of extortion 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.
“I hope today’s sentencing will hold the Mashpee Wampanoag community accountable and close the door to this dark chapter in their rich history. Just last week, I had the privilege of meeting with tribal leaders in Mashpee. I look forward to continuing positive interactions and supporting educational and growth opportunities with the members of the Mashpee tribe,” Rollins said in a statement.
“Cedric Cromwell abused his elected position and betrayed the trust of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe by seeking to monetize his position of power at every turn. He solicited and accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from David DeQuattro for three years and went to great lengths to try to cover up their criminal conduct,” said the special agent in charge of FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta in a statement.
In November 2015, according to evidence presented at trial, Cromwell received a check for $10,000 from DeQuattro. Cromwell deposited it in a bank account for a company he created called One Nation Development LLC, which was apparently described as an organization dedicated to helping Native American tribes develop economically. In fact, One Nation Development had no employees and Cromwell spent DeQuattro’s check on personal expenses, officials said.
In August 2016, Cromwell asked DeQuattro for exercise equipment, officials said. DeQuattro and his business partner then bought a used Bowflex on Craigslist for $1,700 and had it delivered to Cromwell’s home. Cromwell told DeQuattro he was disappointed it wasn’t new gear.
In May 2017, Cromwell texted DeQuattro.
“Hello Dave. Hope all is well. 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’m having a special guest with me. Let me know and thank you,” the message read, according to officials.
DeQuattro then forwarded the message to his business partner.
“You can’t think of that stuff…..what’s next?” he wrote.
DeQuattro and his business partner paid more than $1,800 for Cromwell to stay in an executive suite at the Seaport Boston Hotel for three nights, officials said.
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