DOC HAD SECRETS
Lies & biker ties led to wife’s murder
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.”
DR. JAMES KAUFFMAN AND FERDINAND AUGELLO