MAYS LANDING— On April 20, 2021, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the conviction and all evidentiary rulings made by Judge Bernard E. DeLury in the 2018 murder trial of Ferdinand ‘Freddy’ Augello, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
The unanimous decision by Judges Gilson, Moynihan, and Gummer unanimously affirmed the conviction of the trial court and determined that the defendant’s trial was fair and impartial. The appeal was argued by Atlantic County Assistant Prosecutor John Santoliquido.
The defendant will continue to serve his 55 year sentence in New Jersey state prison.
“Our ability to earn a conviction on this case has restored confidence in the office of the Atlantic County Prosecutor to solve cases when others failed to try. To think that this case was referred to as cold and that this defendant and his coconspirators who orchestrated the murder of April Kauffman were permitted to walk around free among us is troubling,” Prosecutor Tyner said.
On Oct. 2, 2018, an Atlantic County jury unanimously found Augello guilty in the murder of April Kauffman on May 10, 2012, racketeering and drug charges.
Augello, 65, of Petersburg, NJ, was convicted on the following charges:
- Murder (April Kauffman)
- Conspiracy to Commit Murder
- 1st degree Leader of a Drug Trafficking Network
- 1st degree Racketeering
- Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance
- Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance
“In March 2017 when I began my term I asked our investigators which open cases they believed could be solved. My investigators informed me unanimously that if given the opportunity to investigate the murder of April Kauffman they believed they could capture those responsible for her murder and earn a conviction,” Prosecutor Tyner said.
On Thursday, May 10, 2012, at approximately 11:29 a.m., officers from Linwood Police Department responded to a 911call at a private residence located at 2 Woodstock Drive, Linwood. There was a report of an unconscious, non-responsive female at this location. Upon arrival, responding police and emergency medical services personnel were met by the resident of the home, James M. Kauffman, who reported finding his wife, April Kauffman, 47, deceased inside the second floor bedroom of their residence. Inside the second floor master bedroom of the residence, police and emergency medical service personnel discovered April Kaufman unconscious and lying face down on the floor. At 11:45 a.m., April Kauffman was pronounced dead. Atlantic County Medical Examiner Dr. Hydow Park, was notified and responded to the scene, at which time it was ascertained April Kauffman had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.
Through an ACPO investigation, it was 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 Ferdinand Augello had a relationship which centered on James Kauffman’s medical practice. In the summer of 2011, James Kauffman solicited Ferdinand Augello to murder Kauffman’s wife, April Kauffman. This appears to be for numerous reasons largely centered on April Kauffman’s threats of divorce. 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, April 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. 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 Joseph Mulholland. It is unknown if this payment was in the form of cash, drugs or both.
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.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy represented the state in the trial.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at https://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.