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Tribal Leader Convicted Of Bribery Connected To Massachusetts Casino Project

Former Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Convicted


The former Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the owner of an architecture-and-design firm in Rhode Island were convicted by a federal jury in connection with bribery involving the Tribe’s plans to build a casino-hotel in Taunton, Mass., the federal government said May 5.

The Mashpee Wampanoags have been seeking to build a $1 billion casino in East Taunton, which would have three hotels and be home to about 3,000 slot machines. It’s unclear when the casino will be built.

Former Chairman Cedric Cromwell, 55, was convicted following a 10-day jury trial of two counts of accepting bribes as an agent of an Indian tribal government, three counts of extortion under color of official right, and one count of conspiring to commit extortion.

Cromwell faces four remaining charges of filing a false tax return. David DeQuattro, 54, was convicted of one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an Indian tribal government.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 9, 2022.

The jury acquitted both defendants of one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery. DeQuattro was also found not guilty on one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and Cromwell was found not guilty on one count of extortion.

Cromwell was the Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and President of the Tribe’s Gaming Authority. DeQuattro’s architecture-and-design company signed a contract to serve as the Gaming Authority’s owner’s representative for the First Light Resort and Casino.

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

“No one is above the law. That rings true today, loudly and clearly,” said United States Attorney Rachael Rollins. “Mr. Cromwell and Mr. DeQuattro entered into a business arrangement that was fueled by bribery for their own selfish and unlawful gain. In doing so, Mr. Cromwell exploited his position and the trust placed in him by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Today’s guilty verdict makes clear that the jury saw this case for what it is – a textbook example of public corruption.”

The government called it a “quid pro quo scheme.”