I apologize if I have broken a code of ethics using a recompiled version of MAME. This was not my intent and was done because someone suggested it long ago as a quick way to decrease the time it took for setup and config of my (then) new cab.
I understand I will probably not receive any more help here but for what its worth the version of MAME Plus I am using is an official build and since this has happened I did install a fresh, official build of 0128b into a separate folder with a separate set of roms and no paths in the default mame.ini pointing to the 'hacked' version.
Again, the exact same thing happens with both official builds of Plus and 0128b.
My MAME setup is literally a direct copy-and-paste of my other MAME cabinet which works perfectly and has for years. In the mame.ini -cheat is set to 0 and a cheat.dat file does not exist anywhere in any installation of MAME on my machine that I am able to find.