Crooked Maryland Politicians / Former Maryland Delegate Michael Vaughn Convicted of Federal Corruption Charges for Taking Bribes for Vote on Liquor Bills

  • According to evidence presented at trial, Vaughn took over $15,000 in cash bribes from Paig, Lee, and others, in exchange for influencing and voting for the 2015 Sunday Sales Bill

Former Del. Michael Vaughn, Democrat of Bowie, resigned after his indictment on federal charges, convicted of taking bribes for liquor store decision. Photo courtesy of NBC 4

Crooked Maryland Politicians / Former Maryland Delegate Michael Vaughn Convicted of Federal Corruption Charges for Taking Bribes for Vote on Liquor Bills

Top Maryland Democrat Convicted of
Bribery in Federal Court

Former Maryland State Delegate Michael Vaughn of Bowie was Deputy Majority Whip of The Maryland House Of Delegates

 

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GREENBELT, MD.  – Prince Georges County Democratic Party politics continues to be fertile ground for federal prosecutors seeking to root out corruption. Adding to the list of recent convictions that includes Prince Georges County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, who, also a council member, was told by her husband to stuff dirty money in her bra and flush checks down the toilet – was a top Democratic legislator until the news of his indictment appeared. Legislative leaders in Annapolis quickly put as much distance between themselves and Vaughn as possible. 

The Acting U.S. Attorney for Maryland Stephen M. Schenning, reports on March 1, 2018, that a federal jury has convicted former Maryland State Delegate Michael Lynn Vaughn, 60, of Bowie, Maryland, of bribery and conspiracy in connection with a scheme in which he accepted bribes in exchange for influencing the performance of his official duties.

Vaughn’s attorney contended that his client was guilty of being unethical but not of being crooked – as if there is any way to tell the difference in PG County politics.

According to evidence presented at trial, Vaughn took over $15,000 in cash bribes from Paig, Lee, and others, in exchange for influencing and voting for the 2015 Sunday Sales Bill

Vaughn was a Maryland State Delegate from January 2003 until January 2017, representing District 24, which covered the Bowie area of Prince Georges County and was the Deputy Majority Whip and a senior member of the Economic Matters Committee.

According to evidence presented at trial, from January 2015 through April 2016, then-Delegate Vaughn conspired with former Prince George’s County Liquor Board Commissioner and later, Chief Liquor Inspector, David Dae Sok Son, liquor store owners Young Jung Paig, Shin Ja Lee, and others to advance and vote for favorable legislation in exchange for cash payments.

According to evidence presented at trial, Vaughn took over $15,000 in cash bribes from Paig, Lee, and others, in exchange for influencing and voting for the 2015 Sunday Sales Bill and the related 2016 Additional Sunday Permits Bill, both of which became Maryland laws. 

The 2015 Sunday Sales Bill established up to 100 Sunday liquor sales permits in Prince George’s County for certain license holders.  The 2016 Additional Sunday Permits Bill raised the limit of Sunday liquor sales permits in Prince George’s County from 100 to 105. 

Prosecutors stated that on at least six occasions, then-Delegate Vaughn voted in favor of the bills in the Prince George’s County Delegation meetings, in the Economic Matters Committee, and on the floor of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Prince Georges County Executive Jack Johnson now in prison for taking bribes.

Prosecutors stated that on at least six occasions, then-Delegate Vaughn voted in favor of the bills in the Prince George’s County Delegation meetings, in the Economic Matters Committee, and on the floor of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Vaughn faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of four counts of bribery and five years in prison for the conspiracy count. No sentencing date has been scheduled.

Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended the FBI, IRS-CI, and Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas P. Windom and Phil Selden, who prosecuted the case, and Menaka S. Kalaskar, who assisted in the prosecution.

 

DETAILS OF THE CHARGES:

  •  Further, the indictment alleged that from 2012 through 2016, Vaughn diverted money donated to his campaign finance committee, Friends of Michael Vaughn (FOMV), for his personal use.
  • A candidate, such as Vaughn, is prohibited from personally making disbursements from a political committee established to promote his candidacy.
  • According to the indictment, Vaughn withdrew campaign funds from the FOMV account to use for personal expenses, including electronically transferring money from the FOMV campaign account directly to Vaughn’s personal bank account, making payments to his personal American Express credit card account, and making payments of his personal income tax to the Internal Revenue Service.
  • In addition, Vaughn allegedly received campaign contributions, deposited them into the FOMV account, and then converted them to his personal use without identifying the contributions on campaign finance reports made to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
  • For example, from June 10, 2015, through November 10, 2015, at least 25 checks totaling approximately $11,175, were deposited into the FOMV account but not reported on the FOMV campaign finance report.
  • As with the other amounts deposited into the FOMV account, the funds from these checks were then withdrawn by Vaughn and converted for his personal use.
  • The indictment alleged that Vaughn caused the filing of fraudulent campaign finance reports with the Maryland State Board of Elections in order to conceal the scheme from FOMV and the FOMV campaign contributors.
  • For example, as of January 14, 2015, the campaign finance report filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections showed a balance in the FOMV account of $64,462.44.
  • The indictment alleges that the expenditures identified in the report did not include substantial cash withdrawals made by Vaughn and that the account actual balance on that date, according to bank statements, was only $1,654.36.

From Maryland Manual:

 

MICHAEL L. VAUGHN

Democrat, District 24, Prince George’s County

Member of House of Delegates, January 8, 2003, to January 11, 2016. Resigned January 11, 2016. Member, Joint Technology Oversight Committee, 2003-09; Economic Matters Committee 2003-17 (alcoholic beverages subcommittee, 2003-10; banking, economic development, science & technology subcommittee, 2003-15; public utilities work group, 2005-10; chair, business regulation subcommittee, 2007-17, member, 2003-17; member, public utilities subcommittee, 2015-17). Deputy Majority Whip, 2006-17. Member, Joint Information Technology and Biotechnology Committee, 2009-14; Joint Committee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Biotechnology, 2014-15; Joint Committee on Legislative Information Technology and Open Government, 2015-17. 2nd Vice-Chair, Prince George’s County Delegation, 2014-17 (vice-chair, 2008-12; bi-county committee, 2003-08; Maryland-national capital park & planning commission committee, 2008-12; chair, bi-county committee, 2015-17, vice-chair, 2013-15, member, 2003-08, 2013-17). Member, Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, 2003-17. President, Maryland Black Caucus Foundation, 2004-10. Member, National Conference of State Legislatures (communications, technology & interstate commerce committee, 2005-07; communications, financial services & interstate commerce committee, 2007-17).

Del. Michael Vaughn Democrat District 24 PG County

Member, Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Enterprise Reform, 2003. Co-Chair, Task Force on Lending Equity within Financial Institutions Providing State Depository Services, 2004-05. Co-Chair, Task Force on the Minority Business Enterprise Program and Equity Investment Capital, 2008-09. Board of Directors, Economic Development Corporation, Prince George’s County, 2009-. Member, Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, Federal Communications Commission, 2011-; Clean Energy Program Task Force, 2013-14.

Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, November 12, 1957. Attended Duvall High School, Lanham, Maryland; Southern University, B.S. (business administration). Financial Representative, Fidelity Investment Corporation, 1988-93. Independent Financial Marketing Group Representative, Riggs National Bank, 1993-94. Financial Services Representative, Chevy Chase Financial Services, 1994-96. Executive Meetings Manager, Marriot Corporation, 1996-98. Director of Sales and Marketing, Guest Services, Inc., 1998-2001. Senior Sales Manager, Hilton Washington Embassy Row, 2001. Former investment advisor, Merrill Lynch, Dean Witter, Fidelity Investment. Realtor, Century 21 Home Center, 2013-. Married; three children.

 

 

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