Former Md. Delegate Indicted in Bribery Scandal

Former Maryland Delegate Michael L. Vaughn (right) leaves the U.S. District Courthouse in Greenbelt with his attorney William Purpura after an initial court appearance on March 8. Vaughn was charged with bribery and conspiracy during his time as a state delegate. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Another former Maryland state delegate who represented Prince George’s County has been charged with bribery and conspiracy charges to pay for passage of liquor legislation.

Michael L. Vaughn, 59, who abruptly resigned on the first day of the legislative session on Jan. 11, made his first initial appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

A grand jury indicted the former state official Monday, and the document was unsealed Tuesday.

The eight-count indictment outlines how Vaughn, of Bowie, conspired with former Prince George’s liquor control board member and later chief liquor inspector David Dae Sok Son and two liquor store owners to pay Vaughn for agreeing to pass favorable legislation.

According to the court documents, Vaughn received $13,000 in cash between April 2015 to April 2016 for approving Sunday liquor sales and permits. Vaughn helped pass legislation as a member of the House’s Economic Matters Committee that benefited the liquor store merchants, Young Jung Paig and Shin Ja Lee.

Court records show because Vaughn served on the committee, he could ensure any proposed liquor legislation would be killed or amended.

“At the end of the day, ECM has final say so … I’m gonna be checking. I’m gonna be checking and double checking. Making sure none of this … slip through,” Vaughn allegedly said in a conversation with another elected official.

After a piece of legislation passed in March 2016, documents show on April 12, 2016, Vaughn met a confidential informant at a restaurant in College Park and received a $5,000 cash payment. Exactly two weeks later, the governor signed the bill into law.

Vaughn, who worked as a delegate since January 2003 and mainly replied Wednesday “yes sir” and “no sir” before Judge William Connelly, got released on his own personal recognizance.

Vaughn’s attorney, William Purpura, declined to comment Wednesday when leaving court.

Son, Paig and Lee were charged in January with bribery and conspiracy charges for a scheme with former state Delegate William A. Campos of Hyattsville and former county liquor control board commissioner and College Park attorney Anuj Sud.

The plea deal in the Campos case outlines in similar fashion to Vaughn’s case regarding an informant, but federal authorities haven’t stated how they’re connected.

All five men face up to 15 years in prison, but Vaughn’s sentence could be much lengthier.

Documents show Vaughn received campaign contributions from 2012 to 2016 in a “Friends of Michael Vaughn” (FOMV) account. He withdrew money and transferred money from that account to his personal account to pay for his American Express credit card and income tax to the IRS.

Between June 10 and Nov. 20 in 2015, at least 25 checks totaling $11,175 was deposited in the FOMV account but never listed on the campaign finance report, according to the court records.

On Jan. 14, 2015, his campaign finance report filed with the state’s Board of Elections had a balance of nearly $64,465. However, the report didn’t include cash withdrawals Vaughn made with the actual balance on that date: $1,654.36.

Vaughn faces wire fraud charges after he withdrew money outside of Maryland on three separate occasion from the FOMV account: $1,900 on Nov. 21, 2013; $1,000 on Dec. 8, 2014; and $3,000 on July 9, 2015.

Since Vaughn was released, the judge ordered his name removed from the FOMV account and he cannot open another bank account during the pre-trial phase. In addition, he cannot have contact with any of those involved the bribery scheme and those who contributed to his campaign.

If convicted on the bribery and wire fraud charges, Vaughn faces a maximum of 65 years in prison.

About William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer 171 Articles
I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com