ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (January 9, 2018)--After a cooperative investigation between the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and multiple law enforcement agencies, eight individuals have been charged in connection to the murder of April Kauffman, as well as, conspiracy and racketeering, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
James Kauffman and Ferdinand Augello are charged with Murder in connection with the death of April Kauffman, in addition to Racketeering, related to the illegal distribution of narcotics through Kauffman’s former medical practice. Additionally, Ferdinand Augello is charged with Conspiracy to Commit the Murder of James Kauffman.
On Thursday, May 10, 2012, at approximately 11:29 a.m., officers from Linwood Police Department responded to a 911call at a private residence located at 2 Woodstock Drive, Linwood. There was a report of an unconscious, non-responsive female at this location. Upon arrival, responding police and emergency medical services personnel were met by the resident of the home, James M. Kauffman, who reported finding his wife, April Kauffman, 47, deceased inside the second floor bedroom of their residence. Inside the second floor master bedroom of the residence, police and emergency medical service personnel discovered April Kaufman unconscious and lying face down on the floor. At 11:45 a.m., April Kauffman was pronounced dead. Atlantic County Medical Examiner Dr. Hydow Park, was notified and responded to the scene, at which time it was ascertained April Kauffman had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.
Through an ACPO investigation, it was determined that a long term alliance between members of the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Gang and former doctor, James Kauffman, was created for the 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. Prior to 2011, James Kauffman and Ferdinand Augello had a relationship which centered on James Kauffman’s medical practice. In the summer of 2011, James Kauffman solicited Ferdinand Augello to murder Kauffman’s wife, April Kauffman. This appears to be for numerous reasons largely centered on April Kauffman’s threats of divorce. James Kauffman stated he would sooner kill April than grant the divorce and lose “half his empire.”
As a result of his objection to a favorable divorce settlement, April Kauffman threatened a number of actions to obtain divorce. In addition to her attempt to spend as much money as she could until a divorce was granted, April also threatened to expose the fraudulent and unlawful practices taking place at her husband’s 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 illegal drug distribution network was set up in a typical pattern of hierarchy. James Kauffman and Ferdinand Augello were at the top. James Kauffman would give free scripts to those individuals sent by Ferdinand Augello. Ferdinand Augello had at least two individuals recruiting for him to obtain the scripts. In turn, those individuals then recruited additional people to receive the OXY scripts. 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.
Ferdinand Augello propositioned a number of individuals to murder April Kauffman. These individuals were all Pagans, former Pagans or associated with the Pagans. He was unsuccessful for almost a year and James Kauffman was getting restless when Ferdinand Augello found Francis Mullholland. Mullholland was the cousin of a Pagan associate Joseph Mulholland and member of the drug enterprise. It is believed that Francis Mullholland received a ride to the Kauffman residence in the early morning hours of May 10, 2012. The doors were left open and Francis Mullholland was given a gun. He went inside, shot April Kauffman twice, killing her, and then left. It is believed there was payment made to both Francis Mullholland and his cousin Joseph Mulholland. It is unknown if this payment was in the form of cash, drugs or both. Francis Mullholland has stated that he received approximately $20,000 in cash for his role, though this number has been speculated at being higher. The money was picked up on the day of the murder by Ferdinand Augello’s ex-wife, Beverly Augello along with additional scripts. The scripts were used to obtain drugs that day and the money was given to FA.
Following the murder, the drug enterprise continued for five additional years. 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.
On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, with the assistance of agents from the FBI and local police agencies, executed a search warrant on both the business and the residential addresses of Kauffman. Upon executing the search warrant on June 13, Kauffman displayed a Ruger 9mm handgun. Ultimately a hostage negotiator was successful in getting Kauffman to surrender to authorities. He was taken into custody at the Psychiatric Intervention Program for monitoring. Kauffman was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and obstruction of the administration of law.
On July 31, 2017, the state Appellate Division upheld Kauffman’s pretrial detention, following an appeal filed on June 22, 2017, after Kauffman was detained on June 19, by Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury.
In September 2017, Kauffman was indicted on the following charges:
- Second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon-Handguns without Permit
- Second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon-Handguns without Permit
- Second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
- Fourth degree Obstructing the Administration of Law or Government Function
Kauffman remains in custody at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where he has been detained since June 13, 2017. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy is prosecuting the case.
FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher advised that “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.”
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.
The following individuals have been charged with the following charges:
1). James Kauffman, 68, Linwood : 1st degree Racketeering, 1st degree Leader, Murder
2) Ferdinand Augello, 61, Petersburg, NJ : 1st degree Leader Charge, 1st degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder James Kauffman, 1st degree Racketeering
3) Joseph Mulholland, 52, Villas : 1st degree Racketeering
4) Beverly Augello, 47, Summerland Keys, FL : 1st degree Racketeering
5) Glenn Seeler, 37, Sanford, NC : 1st degree Racketeering
6) Paul Pagano, 61, Egg Harbor Township : 2nd degree Racketeering
7) Tabitha Chapman, 35, Absecon: 2nd degree Racketeering
8) Cheryl Pizza, 36, Murrells Inlet, SC : 2nd degree Racketeering
***These charges are merely an accusation and not proof of guilt. In all criminal cases, a charged defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.*
source: Atlantic County Prosecutors Office