Lies & biker ties led to wife’s mur­der

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - BRAD HUNTER bhunter@post­

Cape May on the Jer­sey Shore hear­kens to a dif­fer­ent Amer­ica.

An Amer­ica of the movies, white picket fences, large Vic­to­rian homes and breath­tak­ing views of Delaware

Bay and the At­lantic Ocean.

This was April Kauff­man’s world.

The vi­va­cious blond was a pop­u­lar ra­dio talk show host, veter­ans ad­vo­cate and mar­ried to a wealthy doc­tor.

The Rip­tide in this bright pic­ture was the hus­band,

Dr. James Kauff­man.

De­spite his dough, Kauff­man had a busi­ness on the side: he was in bed with the Pa­gans Mo­tor­cy­cle Club push­ing painkillers for them to sell to hope­less junkies on the east­ern seaboard.

Here’s the scheme: the dirty den­tist would take a $100 for the pills or charge his “pa­tients’” med­i­cal in­sur­ance.

A biker named Fer­di­nand Augello, 62 was a former Pa­gans Jer­sey Shore chap­ter pres­i­dent. His nick­names were “Freddy Crime World” and “Mis­er­able.”

April Kauff­man found out about the scheme and im­me­di­ately wanted out of the mar­riage.

As a staunch de­fender of Amer­i­can ser­vice­men and women, April also dis­cov­ered her hus­band had lied about serv­ing in the mil­i­tary.

He told her he had been a Green Beret in Viet­nam. It was a lie she could not get past.

“April be­came aware that Dr. Kauff­man had never served in Armed Forces and was not a vet­eran in any ca­pac­ity,” a war­rant states.

“It is known that April was dev­as­tated by this reve­la­tion and it is be­lieved that she threat­ened to use this in­for­ma­tion to pro­cure a ben­e­fi­cial di­vorce from him.”

The dope ring info was also a pow­er­ful card for her to play in di­vorce court.

That was some­thing her hus­band — and his greasy part­ners — could not let hap­pen. He told his biker con­frères he wasn’t about to “lose half his em­pire”.

If you’ve never heard of the Pa­gans, know this: They are bad hom­bres who make the Hells An­gels look like friendly faces at a PTA meet­ing.

Founded in 1959 in Mary­land, the one-per­centers make their dough in pros­ti­tu­tion and drugs and are scat­tered along the U.S. east­ern seaboard. They are known as prodi­gious meth cook­ers.

James Kauff­man’s busi­ness part­ner Augello ap­proached his broth­ers in colours propos­ing that April should be put on ice.

They paid a loser named Fran­cis Mul­hol­land $20,000 to put April in a box. But the heroin-ad­dicted Mul­hol­land only grazed the ra­dio host in May 2011.

A year later he was dead with a nee­dle in his arm and April was still alive.

Augello de­cided if you wanted some­thing done right, you had to do it your­self.

On May 10, 2012, April Kauff­man, 47 years old, was found in her home shot nu­mer­ous times.

De­tec­tives al­ways look at close fam­ily mem­bers first in a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

James Kauff­man was un­der in­tense heat.

His drug racket was a sham­bles and the pres­sure was caus­ing him to come apart at the seams.

But the case went cold un­til an­other biker look­ing at the hard end of 40 years in the joint flipped.

In Jan­uary 2018, Kauff­man, Augello and other mem­bers of the ring were ar­rested and charged with first-de­gree mur­der, drug-traf­fick­ing and a litany of other crimes.

Kauff­man was a softie and couldn’t even han­dle the county jail.

Five weeks af­ter be­ing busted, he tied to­gether two sheets and hanged him­self in his cell.

“Ul­ti­mately, Dr. Kauff­man was tried by a higher jury, and it cost him his life,” one pros­e­cu­tor said.

“He couldn’t live with the weight of the ev­i­dence that would have been pre­sented against him on this date.”

Five oth­ers did plea deals. That left “Mis­er­able Freddy” on the hook.

His de­fence painted him as noth­ing more than “a big talker” who was broke-ass poor.

It took a New Jer­sey jury just two hours to con­vict Augello. He will be sen­tenced in De­cem­ber.

“April Kauff­man, grand­mother, friend, a cham­pion for veter­ans’ rights, mur­dered in her bed,” District At­tor­ney Seth Levy said. “And yes, this de­fen­dant was ab­so­lutely re­spon­si­ble for that.”

He added: “When you move the pawns out of the way, all you have star­ing back at you is ‘Freddy crime wave’, ‘Mis­er­able’ Fer­di­nand Augello.”



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