After almost six years of gossip, rumor and speculation, shore endocrinologist James Kauffman was charged Tuesday in the death of his wife, radio personality April Kauffman, in a murder-for-hire plot prosecutors said was connected to the Pagan motorcycle gang and created to prevent her from exposing a vast illegal opioid pill distribution operation.
He is charged with murder, racketeering and conspiracy. Six other people are also facing racketeering charges in this case.
After five years, no suspects and countless rumors, Dr. James Kauffman has been charged with the murder of his wife, April Kauffman, a story which included a drug conspiracy and the Pagans Motorcycle gang.
In 2011, April Kauffman planned on divorcing her husband and also learned about his drug operation, prosecutors say.
On May 10, 2012, April Kauffman, a vivacious 47-year-old Jersey Shore radio host and veterans activist, was found shot dead in the bedroom of her Linwood, New Jersey, home she shared with her husband. Kauffman is in jail after he was indicted on weapons charges in June, 2017, stemming from a standoff with police when authorities executed a search warrant at his office.
"James Kauffman stated he would sooner kill April than grant the divorce and lose half his empire", Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said. Every person involved in the enterprise was either a Pagan, former Pagan or an associate of a Pagan, according to investigators. His Ocean Heights Avenue office has closed and his medical license has been suspended.
"Francis Frank Mullholland was paid a sum of money to kill April Kauffman".
Kauffman pleaded not guilty to the weapons and obstruction charges in September, and a trial date on those charges has not been scheduled.
The prosecutor's office alleged the payment was picked up on the day of the murder by Augello's ex-wife, 47-year-old Beverly Augello of Summerland Keys, Fla.
Augello was also charged with trying to kill James Kauffman.
Investigators say Kauffman continued to run the drug operation even after his wife's murder.
Joseph Mulholland, 52 of Villas was charged with first-degree racketeering.
Glenn Seeler, 37, of Sanford, N.C., was charged with first degree racketeering.
During the early morning hours of May 10, 2012, Frank Mullholland received a ride to the Kauffmans home and was given a gun, officials said. He went inside, shot April Kauffman twice, killing her, and then left.
Kauffman's attorney Edwin Jacobs, of Jacobs and Barbone in Atlantic City, was not present for the press conference.
The prosecutor's office alleged Kauffman would give opiod prescriptions to people sent to his office by Augello, who would receive either $1,000 for each prescription or a predetermined number of pills. Tyner says she threatened to expose him in an effort to gain a favorable divorce settlement. "He was unsuccessful for nearly a year and James Kauffman was getting restless when Ferdinand Augello found Francis Mulholland". Jacobs says Kauffman told this to police at the time: "I'm not going to go to jail for something I didn't do".
According to Tyner, Kauffman first solicited Augello to murder his wife in the summer of 2011.
Kauffman's arrest in June sparked renewed interest in the murder as well as new speculation on possible medical fraud.
Francis Mullholland and Joseph Mulholland were not related, the prosecutor's office said.
Kauffman, the endocrinologist, has been in custody at the Atlantic County Justice Facility since his arrest on weapons and obstruction charges related to the execution of a search warrant at his Egg Harbor Township medical office in June. Five search warrants were executed at Kauffman's offices and residences back in June in connection with a health care investigation and the warrants remain sealed.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office, the FBI and the Linwood, Egg Harbor Township, Somers Point and Lower Township police departments all collaborated on the investigation.
During the execution of the search warrants, about $100,000 in cash was recovered in Kauffman's office, his Linwood home and the Philadelphia condominium, the prosecutor's office said.