A Doctor, a Motorcycle Gang, a Drug Ring, and a Murder

NJ endocrinologist James Kauffman accused of killing wife to protect his opioid empire
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2018 7:40 AM CST
Doctor Accused of Having Wife Killed to Protect Drug Empire
James Kauffman is shown in an undated photo provided by the Atlantic County, NJ, prosecutor’s office.   (Atlantic County, NJ, Prosecutor’s office via AP)

Prosecutors in New Jersey say they've cracked a five-year-old murder case, and the victim's endocrinologist widower is at the center of the tangled plot. Authorities say James Kauffman, 69, helped arrange to hire the hit man who fatally shot wife April Kauffman, a popular radio host, at their Linwood home in 2012, reports USA Today. Kauffman allegedly did so because their marriage was disintegrating, and he feared that his wife would expose the opioid drug ring that he ran out of his office in cahoots with the Pagan Outlaw motorcycle gang, reports Philly.com. Also charged is Ferdinand Augello, 61, a business partner of Kauffman's accused of hiring a killer by the name of Frank Mulholland for at least $20,000. Mulholland died in 2013. One more twist: Augello also is charged with conspiring to try to kill James Kauffman.

"As a result of April Kauffman’s desire to divorce James Kauffman, he was intent to have her killed, as opposed to losing his 'financial empire,' as he described it to several individuals," says Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner. The 2012 murder had remained a source of much speculation, and the victim's daughter had long suspected her stepfather. "I have been waiting patiently for justice and today I was luckily enough to be granted justice," says Kimberly Pack. As for the drug scheme, prosecutors say James Kauffman regularly wrote prescriptions for bogus patients recruited by Augello, who would get $1,000 per prescription. In addition to the murder charges, the doctor and Augello also face racketeering charges, along with six other people. (A woman who allegedly hired a hit man at Olive Garden died in May.)

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