Husband of slain radio host paid man to kill his wife 5 years ago, authorities say

The husband of a former radio talk show paid another man to kill his wife, the Atlantic County prosecutor alleged Tuesday afternoon as charges were announced.

Dr. James Kauffman, a 69-year-old endocrinologist from Linwood, and Ferdinand Augello, 62, of Petersburg were charged with first-degree murder and racketeering in connection with the May 10, 2012 homicide of April Kauffman, Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.

"For the last ten months since my appointment as Atlantic County Prosecutor, I have allocated the resources necessary for those in my office to specifically dedicate their time to take some action on this matter," Tyner said.

The prosecutor said Kauffman was working with the Pagan Motorcycle gang in which he used his practice to distribute drugs, with Kauffman and Augello heading the operation.

Kauffman would write free prescriptions to people Augello had sent in and receive up to $1,000 per visit. When his wife, who worked as a host at WOND, found out about the alleged illegal activity her husband was involved in, she threatened to expose Kauffman, the prosecutor said.

Augello began to ask current and former Pagan members about killing the radio host for almost a year before he found Francis Mulholland, the cousin of a member, prosecutors said.

Mulholland allegedly entered the house on Woodstock Drive in Linwood, through doors left unlocked by Kauffman, and shot the victim twice, prosecutors said.

Authorities believe Mulholland received at least $20,000 to kill April Kauffman, and that Beverly Augello, the wife of Ferdinand Augello, delivered the payment to Mulholland, officials said.

Francis Mulholland died in October 2013 in what Tyner said was believed to be an accidental overdose, officials said.

The drug business continued for another five years, until FBI agents and the Prosecutor's Office received a warrant and searched his office in Egg Harbor Township in June. Kauffman had a 45-minute standoff before negotiators talked him out of the building, took him into custody and placed him under psychiatric evaluation.

In September, Kauffman pleaded not guilty to multiple weapons charges, including unlawful possession of a weapon and hollow-point bullets and obstruction of the administration stemming from the standoff.

Besides James Kauffman and Ferdinand Augello, six other people from four states were arrested and charged in connection with the drug ring.

Joseph Mulholland, 52 of Villas was charged with first-degree racketeering.

Beverly Augello, 47, of Summerland Keys, Florida was charged with first-degree racketeering.

Glenn Seeler, 37, of Sanford s, North Carolina, was charged with first-degree racketeering.

Paul Pagano, 51, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with second-degree racketeering.

Tabitha Chapman, 35, of Absecon was charged with second-degree racketeering.

Cheryl Pizza, 36, of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina was charged with second-degree racketeering.

Tyner added that his office and the FBI, the Linwood Police Department, Egg Harbor Police Department, Somers Point Police Department, Lower Township Police Department and the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office all assisted with the case.

"It was a 10 and a half month investigation that we hope will bring closure to the family of April Kauffman and to the many friends and supporters of April Kauffman," Tyner said.

Chris Franklin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @cfranklinnews. Find on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us.