In the eastern American state of Massachusetts and the former leader of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has reportedly been convicted in federal court on extortion and bribery charges linked to his group’s plan to build a $1 billion casino resort.
According to a report from the Associated Press news service, Cedric Cromwell (pictured) served as the Chairman for the federally-recognized tribe until late-2020 when he was indicted for allegedly accepting bribes associated with the proposal to bring the First Light Resort and Casino to a 321-acre parcel of land on the outskirts of Taunton.
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts reportedly convicted 55-year-old Cromwell yesterday following a ten-day trial while simultaneously finding co-defendant David DeQuattro from Rhode Island-based architecture firm RGB Architects guilty of bribery. The two are now purportedly due to be sentenced in September and could face the real prospects of being ordered to serve up to 20 years in prison and pay fines of as much as $250,000.
The Associated Press reported that Cromwell’s predecessor, Glenn Marshall, was sentenced to prison in 2009 after he had pled guilty to embezzling tribal funds and violating federal campaign finance laws. This purportedly came as he worked with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the ultimately successful campaign that saw the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe achieve federal recognition in 2007.
The current Chairman for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Brian Weeden, reportedly proclaimed that the Cromwell case represents an ‘unfortunate chapter’ for his 3,000-member tribe and will now be followed by a ‘focus on healing our nation’. The current leader purportedly disclosed that his group is moreover planning to reassess the long and controversial plan to bring the First Light Resort and Casino to central Bristol County after its earlier land-into-trust award was reversed in 2020 following the completion of a long-running federal court battle.
Weeden reportedly stated…
“Tribal members are disappointed in Cedric Cromwell. We place a tremendous amount of trust in our elected officials and Cedric abused that trust.”
Rachael Rollins serves as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and she reportedly successfully argued that Cromwell had illegally accepted $10,000 in cash in addition to a weekend stay at an upmarket Boston hotel and a home gym system from DeQuattro in exchange for almost $5 million in casino project contracts between 2015 and 2017. The Associated Press divulged that the former tribal leader is furthermore still facing separate charges that he filed false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on income of approximately $176,000.