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Tribal Leader Jailed in Casino Bribery and Extortion Case


07:44
04 Dec

A tribal leader in Massachusetts has been jailed for 3 years after accepting bribes of cash, a home gym and hotel stays from the owner of an architecture firm involved in a casino build project.

57-year-old Cedric Cromwell, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, the former Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was found guilty by a federal jury back in May of this year.

Cromwell was convicted 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.

This week he was back in court to receive sentencing in the case, along with 56-year-old David DeQuattro, of Warwick, Rhode Island, owner of an architecture-and-design firm in Providence, R.I. who was convicted of one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an Indian tribal government.


Birthday Trip Bribery and Extortion

A Department of Justice press release revealed the skullduggery behind the casino and resort build in Taunton.

“Cromwell accepted 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 an upscale Boston hotel in May 2017.”

The sordid bribery and extortion scheme was revealed in a text exchange that saw Cromwell asking for DeQuattro to pay for a birthday trip to Boston:

“Hello Dave. I hope all is well,” texted Cromwell in May 2017. “My Birthday is coming up this 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 that you can get me a nice hotel room at the Four Seasons or a suite at the Seaport Hotel? I am going to have a special guest with me. Please let me know and Thank You.”

DeQuattro forwarded the text to his business partner, writing, “U can’t think of this stuff…..what is next?” but he still paid more than $1800 for Cromwell to stay in an Executive Suite King – Harbor View at the Seaport Boston Hotel for three nights.


Jail, Probation and Fines

Cromwell was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to three years in prison and one year of supervised release, and fined $25,000.

DeQuattro was given one year of probation to be spent in home confinement with electronic monitoring and fined $50,000.


Abuse, Dishonor and Betrayal

US Attorney Rachael S. Rollins stated after the sentencing:

“Mr. Cromwell was elected to represent the 12,000-year-old Wampanoag Tribe. He received the privilege of leading the Mashpee Wampanoag people, who put their faith and trust in him with each ballot they cast. Rather than striving to make his community better through honorable deeds of service, he dishonored his people and his position by accepting bribes for his own personal gain.”

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division stated:

“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 over three years and went to great lengths to try and conceal their criminal conduct.”

Bonavolonta added:

“Today’s sentence makes it clear that the FBI will not hesitate to investigate elected officials who commit illegal acts for their own selfish and unlawful gain.”

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