A triple-murder suspect-turned-mob informant whose colorful stories led to the arrest of 39 underworld operators was sentenced to time served Friday — and he was even heralded by the judge for his bravery.
Thomas McLaughlin, 46, was 15 when he taken under the wing of a “bad” relative and nurtured to join the Colombo crime family, according to defense lawyer Stuart Grossman.
After getting pinched for drug trafficking and firearms possession, he went to jail for 16 years without cooperating, earning the trust of his criminal colleagues.
But in 2008 when he was released, the feds came to him and told him he would be charged with conspiracy in planning three mob hits and asked for his cooperation. Facing life in prison, he agreed to help and recorded more than 200 conversations between 2009 to 2011, leading to 39 arrests and two convictions.
He nearly put Sammy “The Bull” Gravano’s record to shame. Gravano helped jail 36 people.
Brooklyn federal court Judge Brian M. Cohan on Friday sentenced him to the 16 years he already served and thanked him for wearing a wiretap for the government. “The number of criminal activities that were able to be prosecuted with Mr. McLaughlin’s cooperation is beyond anything I’ve ever seen… and let’s not forget the risk,” Judge Cohan said.
McLaughlin was also instrumental in the conviction of his own cousin, when he was called to testify at former Colombo boss Tommy “Tommy Shots” Gioeli 2012 trial and fingered his role in a murder.
Grossman called his client “a totally changed man,” and prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes applauded his cooperation with the government calling it “historic.”
Today McLaughlin is a family man with a “hard job. Not the kind of job you’re going to get rich on,” according to the judge, who did not say what his new employment entails.
McLaughlin addressed the court. “I want to apologize for my past, Your Honor,” he said.
“I look forward to the future and continuing to be a husband and father.”
“I’m not skeptical,” Judge Cohan said. “I’m dealing with someone who has not only gone straight but who will stay straight.”