MAYS LANDING — On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Atlantic County Presiding Judge Bernard E. DeLury sentenced Ferdinand Augello, 62, of Petersburg to life in New Jersey state prison plus 30 years for the May 10, 2012 murder of April Kauffman, along with other charges, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced in a press release.
“Today, Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury sealed the fate of Freddy Augello for his responsibility in the murder for hire scheme of April Kaufmann, by sentencing him to life in prison plus 30 years. If he survives, Augello will be approximately 117 years old before he is eligible for parole, which will all but ensure he will spend the remainder of his natural life behind bars for the crimes he committed,” Tyner said in the release.
Augello was sentenced on the following charges:
- Count One – First-degree racketeering, 10 years subject to the No Early Release Act
- Count Two – First-degree leader of narcotics network, life subject to 25 years parole ineligibility
- Counts Three and Four- Second-degree possession with Intent to distribute, three years New Jersey State Prison
- Count Five – First-degree murder, 30 years New Jersey State Prison with 30 years parole ineligibility
- Count Six – First-degree conspiracy to commit Murder, 10 years New Jersey State Prison subject to the No Early Release Act
- Count Two and Five run consecutively and the remaining counts are concurrent for an aggregate of life imprisonment subject to 55 years of parole ineligibility.
“While every defendant has a right to appeal the jury’s verdict and the sentencing in this matter, as we have said all along, we are confident that those immediately responsible for the death of April Kaufmann are either dead or incarcerated. Shame on anyone who sat on their hands and did nothing while being content to allow murderers to go free,” Tyner said.
On Thursday, May 10, 2012, at approximately 11:29 a.m., officers from Linwood Police Department responded to a 911 call at a private residence located at 2 Woodstock Drive, Linwood for a report of an unconscious, non-responsive female. Upon arrival, police and emergency medical services personnel were met by James M. Kauffman, who reported finding his wife, April Kauffman, 47, dead inside the second floor bedroom of their residence. April Kaufman was found lying face down on the floor of the second floor master bedroom. Atlantic County Medical Examiner Dr. Hydow Park, who responded to the scene, said she died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The prosecutors office investigation 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 Augello had a relationship that centered on James Kauffman’s medical practice. In the summer of 2011, James Kauffman solicited Augello to murder his wife. This appears to be for numerous reasons largely centered on April Kauffman’s threats of divorce. According to Tyner, 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, she 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 Augello.
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.
“To Kimberly Pack, her family, and all of the dear friends of April, I wish them peace and some measure of comfort that their loved one did not die in vain,” Tyner said.
The state is represented by Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy and Assistant Prosecutor Chris D’Esposito .