When Going Straight Still Gets You Seven-Plus: How Luchese "Associate" Brian Vaughan Got Screwed

Luchese associate Brian Vaughan allegedly was a drug runner for the mob, but exactly when he filled that role should be a larger topic of discussion.

Anthony  DiPietro
Anthony  DiPietro Esquire

The following is based ENTIRELY on information obtained and exclusively reported by Jerry Capeci on Gang Land News on November 15, 2018.

Vaughan was a longtime associate who reportedly served as an enforcer and former bodyguard/driver for Luchese street boss Matthew (Matty) Madonna.

We're betting that not many (unless you are a Gang Land subscriber) understand that after the Bronx 2013 murder of Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish, Vaughan and Matty Madonna both saw their status among their Luchese cohorts drop "dangerously low," according to Gang Land.

Vaughan, who is "permanently disabled" from a construction accident, faces more than seven years in prison, even though he steadfastly declined to deal narcotics that both an uncover FBI agent and mentally handicapped snitch tried repeatedly to press into his hands. That's based on tape recorded discussions and sources, as per Gang Land News.

Vaughan and some confederates in the 2017 Luchese indictment allegedly conspired to sell cocaine, heroin, prescription opiates, and more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana, since around 2000. He and fellow Jerseyan Carmine (Spanish Carmine) Garcia were also charged with extortion, debt collection, and illegal gambling operations.

Yet, "Vaughan repeatedly refused to take part in a drug deal that a snitch on the case has been pushing, " according to Gang Land.

The snitch, Robert Spinelli, "recorded himself telling (an) FBI agent that (Vaughan) had sworn off cocaine trafficking years earlier."

"Back in 2014, (the) slow witted mob informer (Spinelli) ... was helping the feds build" the racketeering and murder case against Luchese gangsters when he "forgot to turn off his recording device."

As a result, Gang Land reported, the turncoat had inadvertently "recorded some embarrassing comments from an FBI undercover agent that were never supposed to see the light of day."

When Spinelli tells the undercover about Vaughan's reluctance, the undercover tells Spinelli, "That's okay," according to court records. "We can facilitate him to do it. This is like playing a chess game. We'll plant the seed, the seed will grow."

Sources also told Gang Land that the recorder was also left running as the undercover called FBI "case agent," Theodore Otto, and told him they had a "very good day" in their probe against Vaughan.

"Sources say Otto told them to "keep close" to Vaughan because the FBI had developed information that there "are people that are looking to hurt him if they can."

"Try as they might, the feds were unable to make a new drug case against Vaughan. Instead, they charged him all over again in the new racketeering indictment with an old drug charge, one to which Vaughan had already pleaded guilty."

Vaughan saw that his status among the Lucheses "dropped dangerously low after the November 15, 2013 rubout of former Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish, who had served as 'muscle' and a loanshark collector for Madonna. Following the hit, Madonna's own standing in the borghata was similarly damaged."

Three days after the Meldish hit, Vaughan told Spinelli that Meldish had been "best friends with Matty" but that Madonna was angry with him because "he fucked Matty out of a lot of money," according to an FBI summary of the recording obtained by Gang Land. The FBI later wired Spinelli up and set him loose on Vaughan.

During the November 18, 2013 talk, Vaughan said that Madonna had told him "to stay away from" Meldish, but Vaughan also said that he believed Genovese wiseguys had whacked Meldish. Not the Luchese family.

Madonna, family underboss Steven (Stevie Wonder) Crea, and his son Steven (Stevie Junior) Crea, are charged with ordering soldier Christopher Londonio and associate Terrence Caldwell to whack Meldish.

Attorney James DiPietro noted  during an August hearing that Vaughan was being sentenced for the same drug case he had previously pleaded guilty to in Brooklyn Federal Court.

"He also noted that in every taped conversation that he and co-counsel Joseph Gentile had listened to from 2013 to 2015, every time Spinelli tried to get him to either sell cocaine or "aid and abet" Spinelli and Pete "in the sale of cocaine, each time Brian Vaughan declined."

"The coup," DiPietro told White Plains Federal Judge Cathy Seibel, "was on August 14th of 2014, when the cooperator, Mr. Spinelli, forgot to shut the recording device off. And the cooperator tells Pete, 'He doesn't wanna do coke.'"

Vaughan's sentencing guidelines for the 2011 drug deal, and for gambling, loansharking and extortion charges going back to 2005, were 78-to-97 months. DiPietro pressed for 78 months, the sentence recommended by the Probation Department.

Judge Seibel wasn't impressed. She stated that Vaughan should have stepped back from drug dealing sooner. She sentenced him to seven years — six months more than the minimum.

And Vaughan was sentenced the following day in Brooklyn Federal Court to a separate five years, a sentence that will run concurrently.