N.J. Doctor Allegedly Had Radio Host Wife Murdered — to Protect Drug Ring He Ran With Biker Gang
A well-known doctor is facing a litany of criminal charges in New Jersey, where he’s accused of hiring someone to murder his wife — a popular radio talk show host — after she threatened to expose a drug distribution ring he allegedly ran with the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club.
A statement on the arrest of James Kauffman, 68, obtained by PEOPLE, confirms he was charged Tuesday with murder, racketeering, and leading a narcotics network.
Kauffman remains in custody at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where he has been detained since June 13, 2017. Investigators attempting to execute a search warrant at his medical offices were allegedly met by an armed Kauffman, sparking an hours-long standoff. In September, Kauffman, an endocrinologist, was indicted on weapons and obstruction charges.
Seven other people were indicted along with Kauffman Tuesday, including Ferdinand Augello, 61, who was also charged with the murder of April Kauffman, 47.
April hosted a popular program on WIBG, a radio station broadcasting out of Ocean City, New Jersey.
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According to prosecutors, the killing was planned over the previous year, with Augello allegedly paying Francis “Frank” Mullholland $20,000 to carry out the hit. Prosecutors allege Mullholland, who died four years ago, was given a gun the morning of May 10, 2012.
A door was allegedly left unlocked at the Kauffman’s Linwood home for Mullholland, who shot April twice, killing her. She was found dead by a handyman.
Kauffman told police he had nothing to do with his wife’s killing, but prosecutors say he wanted her dead because she was planning to divorce him and expose his alleged criminality.
“It was determined that a long term alliance between members of the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Gang and former doctor, James Kauffman, was created for mutual financial gain through the use of Kauffman’s medical practice for illegal drug distribution which culminated on May 10, 2012 with the ‘murder for hire’ of April Kauffman,” reads a statement from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
The statement alleges that “James Kauffman stated he would sooner kill April than grant the divorce and lose ‘half his empire.'”
The statement says Kauffman objected to “a favorable divorce settlement,” and that April had threatened “to spend as much money as she could until a divorce was granted.” According to the statement, April said she would allegedly “expose the fraudulent and unlawful practices taking place” at his medical office.
“Ultimately, James Kauffman made the decision to kill April Kauffman and, based on information and belief, Kauffman told Augello that April threatened to expose the illegal OXY distribution network they had established,” the statement alleges.
Alleged Prescription Drug Scheme
Prosecutors allege Kauffman would “give free scripts” to people posing as patients, who were allegedly sent to him by Augello.
“In turn, those individuals then recruited additional people to receive the OXY scripts,” reads the statement. “Ferdinand Augello would receive either a cash payment of $1,000 per script or a predetermined number of pills once the script was filled. 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.”
Augello allegedly spent a year trying to convince a number of people to murder April.
“These individuals were all Pagans, former Pagans or associated with the Pagans,” reads the statement.
The day of the murder, Augello’s ex-wife, Beverly Augello, was allegedly sent to Kauffman’s office to pick up the cash and some additional prescriptions.
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“Following the murder, the drug enterprise continued for five additional years,” the statement alleges. 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. The enterprise folded in June of 2017 with the arrest of James Kauffman.”
Augello was additionally charged with allegedly trying to kill James Kauffman, the statement says. Augello was charged with racketeering, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and leading a narcotics network. He does not have an attorney and has yet to plead to the charges against him.
Kauffman’s attorney, Ed Jacobs, could not be reached for comment. Kauffman has yet to enter pleas to the new charges, but last fall, he pleaded not guilty to the weapons and obstruction charges.
Beverly Augello, the statement says, was charged with racketeering. So were Joseph Mulholland, 52; Glenn Seeler, 37; Paul Pagano, 61; Tabitha Chapman, 35; and Cheryl Pizza, 36. It was unclear Wednesday if any of the defendants appeared before a judge to enter pleas to the charges, and public records do not indicate if they have retained legal counsel.