BOSTON – The former president of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and the owner of an architecture and design firm in Providence, RI, was sentenced today for corruption related to the tribe’s plans to build a hotel complex and a casino in Taunton, Mass.
Cedric Cromwell, 57, of Attleboro, was sentenced by US District Court Judge Douglas P. 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. Specifically, 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 a 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 today’s sentencing, Judge Woodlock granted Cromwell’s motion for an acquittal on the extortion counts, but denied the defendants’ motions for an 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 kickbacks 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 at an upscale Boston hotel in May 2017. DeQuattro was found guilty of bribing Cromwell in relation to the Bowflex and the hotel stay.
“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. »
“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,” Special Agent Joseph R. Bonavolonta said. in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Today’s sentence makes it clear that the FBI will not hesitate to investigate elected officials who commit unlawful acts for their own selfish and unlawful gain.”
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 LLC. Cromwell’s website describes One Nation Development as helping Native American tribes grow economically. He said, “One Nation works with federal and state agencies on behalf of Native American communities. We have relationships with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and offer our clients from the Aboriginal community direct and active engagement with these various agencies. The website boasted experience in strategic planning, gaming, hospitality and legal services. He said, “One Nation Development is made up of a team of committed professionals who bring together decades of collective wisdom and experience for the work done on behalf of client communities. Each professional individually commits to the One Nation approach: a multi-generational approach to advancing community building solutions. In fact, 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.
US Attorney Rollins and FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta made the announcement today. Assistance was provided by the Attleboro Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine J. Wichers and Jared C. Dolan of Rollins’ Criminal Division prosecuted the case.
Regarding tax charges, the details contained in the tax document are allegations. Cromwell is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
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