Former president of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and owner of an architecture and design firm in Providence, R.I. has been indicted on charges of bribery related to the tribe’s plans to build a casino in Taunton, Massachusetts.
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 of supervised release. Judge Woodlock sentenced David Dequatro, 56, of Warwick, RI, to one year in prison with electronic monitoring.
Cromwell and Dequatro were also ordered to pay fines of $25,000 and $50,000, respectively.
On May 5, 2022, a federal jury convicted the defendants after 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 the color of official right, and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.
DeQuattro was found guilty of paying a bribe to an Indian tribal government client. Cromwell still faces four remaining counts of filing a false tax return. At sentencing, Judge Woodlock granted Cromwell’s motion for acquittal on the racketeering charges but denied the defendants’ motions for acquittal on the bribery charges.
Cromwell was chief of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and head of the tribe’s gaming authority. DeQuattro’s architecture and design firm signed a contract to act as the gaming authority’s owner 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 contract: $10,000 in November 2015, a Bowflex Revolution home gym in August 2016, and a stay at a Boston hotel in May 2017. DeQuattro was convicted of bribing Cromwell in connection with 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 set up called One Nation Development LLC. The Cromwell website described One Nation Development as assisting Native American tribes in economic development. The site promotes expertise in the areas of strategic planning, gaming, hospitality and legal services.
Prosecutors said One Nation Development had no employees and that Cromwell spent DeQuattro’s check on personal expenses.
In August 2016, Cromwell asked DeQuattro for a piece of exercise equipment. In return, DeQuattro and his business partner bought a used Bowflex on Craigslist for $1,700 and had it delivered to Cromwell’s home. Cromwell told DeQuattro that he was disappointed to use it.
In May 2017, Cromwell texted DeQuattro: “Hello Dave. I hope everything is fine. My birthday is coming up Friday May 19th and I wanted to spend Friday through Monday at a very nice hotel in Boston for my birthday weekend. Is it possible Will you get a nice hotel room at the Four Seasons or a suite at the Seaport Hotel? I’m bringing a special guest with me. Please let me know and thank you.” DeQuattro sent the script to his business partner, writing, “You can’t think of this stuff…..what’s next?”
DeQuattro and a business partner paid more than $1,800 to have Cromwell stay in a King-size Executive Suite – Harbor View at the Seaport Boston Hotel for three nights.