Chairman of Wampanoag Tribe and owner of architecture firm both indicted
BOSTON, MASS (WLNE) – The Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the owner of an architecture firm were charged in connection with a bribery scheme on Friday.
The scheme involved plans to build a resort and casino in Taunton, according to the FBI
55-year-old Cedric Cromwell of Attleboro and 54-year-old David DeQuatro of Warwick were each indicted on two counts of accepting or paying bribe as or to an agent of an Indian tribal government.
According to the FBI, Cromwell was also indicted on four counts of extortion under color of official right and one count of conspiring to commit extortions.
“The charges allege that Mr. Cromwell violated the trust he owed the Mashpee Wampanog Tribe by committing extortion, accepting bribes and otherwise abusing his position,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “
“Many American Indians face a host of difficult financial and social issues. They require – and deserve – real leadership. But it appears that Cromwell’s priority was not to serve his people, but to line his own pockets. We will continue to aggressively investigate public corruption, including by those who purport to serve our American Indian tribes”, he said.
“Instead of working honestly on behalf of the Mashpee Wampanoags as their duly elected representative, Cedric Cromwell is accused of using his position as Chairman of the Tribe to enrich himself by extorting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and engaging in a conspiracy with David DeQuattro to commit bribery. These allegations are extremely troubling and indicate a disdain for the rule of law,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
“Both men’s alleged actions undercut the efforts of hard-working tribe members and betrayed their trust. Cases like this fuel our commitment to rooting out public corruption, and as our investigation continues, we urge anyone with information to contact us.”
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was contracted with an architecture company owned by DeQuattro in connection with the Tribe’s plan to build a resort and casino in Taunton.
It is alleged that the payments to Cromwell were written on checks by DeQuattro and directed to CM International Consulting LLC, which is run by a friend of Cromwell.
Cromwell directed his friend to deposit the checks and use the funds to buy treasurer’s checks payable to either Cromwell or One Nation Development, which Cromwell had incorporated.
According to the FBI, it is alleged that Cromwell spent the money on personal expenses, including payments to his mistress.
The president of the architecture firm authorized and signed company checks that reimbursed DeQuattro for his payments to Cromwell, falsely characterized as reimbursements for payroll expenses.
The Bureau says the alleged in-kind benefits included a used Bowflex Revolution home gym that was personally bought for Cromwell.
The company also agreed to pay for Cromwell’s weekend stay at a Boston hotel.
“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,” said Cromwell.
Both men are set to make appearances via videoconference.