Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe chairman, Rhode Island real estate developer convicted in bribery scheme
Two men were convicted in a bribery scheme over the construction of the planned First Light Resort and Casino in Taunton.
The case involved Cedric Cromwell, the chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and president of its gaming authority, whose texts were used against him.
“My Birthday is coming up t… 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,” Cromwell texted a Rhode Island developer desperate to keep the contract of the tribe’s planned casino.
Prosecutors said Cromwell, 55, of Attleboro, got that wish for a weekend getaway at one of Boston’s swankiest hotels, to the tune of $1,800 for a three-night stay in the Seaport Boston Hotel’s executive suite overlooking the Harbor.
Cromwell was convicted Thursday in federal court in Boston 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. He faces four additional counts of filing a false tax return, which the feds say will be tried at a later date.
David DeQuattro, 54, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was found guilty of being the one making those bribes. He was convicted Thursday of one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an Indian tribal government.
Following the 10-day trial, the jury acquitted both men 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 of one count of extortion, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
DeQuattro bribed in both cash — a $10,000 personal check made out to Cromwell in November 2015 — and in goods and services: he gave Cromwell a Bowflex Revolution home gym in August 2016 and then set him up for the weekend getaway at the Boston hotel the following May, the feds said.
Cromwell deposited the check into a bank account he had set up for an organization called One Nation Development, LLC, the feds added.
The charge of paying a bribe to an agent of an Indian tribal government, or being an agent of an Indian tribal government who accepts a bribe, provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
The charges of extortion under color of official right and conspiring to commit extortion each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes that govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.