Eight charged in connection with April Kauffman’s killing
A suspended Egg Harbor Township doctor who pulled a gun when law enforcement came with search warrants last summer is now charged in his wife’s 2012 killing.
April Kauffman’s death was the result of a murder-for-hire that included a long-term alliance between the former doctor and the Pagan motorcycle gang, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said during press conference Tuesday.
“He has consistently denied any involvement in her homicide,” defense attorney Ed Jacobs told BreakingAC.
Neither Jacobs — who is trying a case in New York — nor his law partner, Lou Barbone, knew about the charges beforehand. They were made aware of the press conference by the media.
April Kauffman was looking to divorce her husband, and threatened to use the information she learned about a drug enterprise as leverage, Tyner said.
Instead, her husband allegedly said he would sooner kill the veterans advocate and radio host rather than grant a divorce and lose “half his empire,” Tyner said.
In all, eight people have been charged with racketeering in connection with the illegal drug trade going through the former doctor’s practice.
April Kauffman was found dead in the bedroom of the Linwood home she and her husband shared May 10, 2012.
The doctor told a dispatcher in a 911 call that he found his 47-year-old wife dead.
But according to the charges, Kauffman contracted the killing with Ferdinand Augello — who had allegedly been leading the drug-distribution network with the doctor.
The doctor would allegedly give free scripts to those individuals sent by Augello, who had at least two people recruiting for him to obtain the scripts. In turn, those individuals then recruited additional people to receive the oxy scripts.
Augello would receive either a cash payment of $1,000 per script or a predetermined number of pills once the script was filled, according to the charges. If an individual did not have insurance, they were required to pay $100 per visit. Those that would receive the scripts would either resell them or use them.
In pushing for the divorce, April Kauffman spent as much money as she could and also threatened to expose the fraudulent and unlawful practices taking place at her husband’s medical office, Tyner said.
That’s when the murder plan was formed, according to the timeline given.
Augello allegedly tried for almost a year to find someone who would kill April Kauffman. All of them were either Pagans, former Pagans or associated with the Pagans.
James Kauffman was getting restless when Augello found Francis Mullholland, known as Frank.
It is believed that Mullholland got a ride to the Kauffmans’ in the early morning hours of May 10, 2012. The doors were left open and Mullholland was given a gun. He went inside, shot April Kauffman twice, killing her, and then left, according to the charges.
Frank Mullholland, who died of a drug overdose in 2013, had stated he received about $20,000 in cash for his role, although this number has been speculated at being higher, Tyner said. Augello also received payment.
The money was picked up on the day of the killing by Augello’s ex-wife, Beverly Augello, along with additional scripts. The scripts were used to obtain drugs that day.
Following the killing, the drug enterprise continued for five additional years, according to the charges. Those receiving pills did change during that time; however, every person to be involved in the drug enterprise was a Pagan, former Pagan or an associate of a Pagan.
At some point, it seems, the sides turned against one another. Ferdinand Augello is additionally charged with conspiracy to commit the murder of James Kauffman.
“Whatever accusations are made against Dr. Kauffman involving the homicide of his wife, I’m confident he will enter not guilty pleas to all of those charges,” Jacobs said. “Whatever charges are made with this indictment, we will defend against them. He will do what anyone unfairly and unjustly accused does, and that is try the case in court.”
Meanwhile, FBI Newark Special Agent-in-Charge Timothy Gallagher said the investigation will continue as well.
“The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in an effort to bring to justice those responsible for this horrific crime and equally important, to provide answers and closure to the family and friends of April Kauffman,” he said.
Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. James Scoppa Jr. and FBI Special Agent Daniel A. Garrabrant are the lead investigators on the case.
The investigation and arrests were the result of a joint operation between the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, Linwood, Egg Harbor Township, Somers Point and Lower Township police departments and the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.