The woman who allegedly delivered the payment for April Kauffman’s killing was released pending trial Tuesday.
Whether Beverly Augello, 48, knew what was inside a sealed envelope given to her by Dr. James Kauffman for her former husband is in question.
“We do have information she was aware she was carrying the payoff money for the murder of April Kauffman,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy told the judge. “We believe, based on statements and investigation taken in this case, we can prove that.”
Augello’s former husband, Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello, is accused of setting up the killing to protect his alleged partnership with James Kauffman in an Oxycotin drug ring.
She is not charged with murder, but first-degree racketeering in the drug ring.
For that, she was an integral part, Levy said, calling her the go-between for her ex-husband and the Egg Harbor Township endocrinologist.
“She would pass notes, set up meeting times, pass messages,” he said of nearly 60 estimated visits she made to the doctor’s office. “Many of those messages had to do with the assassination of April Kauffman.”
Dr. Kauffman was her physician, who she had monthly appointments with, defense attorney Hal Kokes said in explaining the many visits.
While the Augellos have been divorced since 2008, they remained business partners in a sign company and it was not unusual for her to deal with customers on Freddy Augello’s behalf, Kokes explained.
He does not believe there is evidence she knew what was inside the sealed envelope she picked up that allegedly had the murder money in it.
Levy expressed concern that, if freed, Beverly Kauffman could resume her old role as a go-between or worse.
“She is integrally related to the murder and silencing of a witness,” Levy said.
“Obviously there are a multitude of witnesses out there, victim survivors,” he said. “There is every reason to believe they could be in danger.”
But Kokes said she only had links to Kauffman — who died in his Hudson County jail cell last month — and her former husband, the only defendant who remains jailed.
“Her ex-husband is a Pagan,” Kokes said of the motorcycle club that allegedly benefitted from the drug ring. “Pagans’ wives don’t threaten Pagans. Pagans’ ex-wives don’t threaten Pagans.”
Her public safety assessment, conducted as part of the bail reform, found Augello at the lowest risk to commit a new crime and to not show up to court, recommending her release.
Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury did as he has for the other defendants in this not charged in the killing, and released her but added conditions, including making her report in person every other week and by phone every other week.
Augello was living in Florida, but her brother got her a spot in a sober living house in Mays Landing to increase her chances of release.
She is not allowed to leave Atlantic or Cape May counties, which are both overseen by this court.
Kokes declined comment on his client’s case at this time.
The seven defendants are all due in court Feb. 21.