NJ doctor charged with having wife killed to protect drug ring

James and April Kauffman

Hide Caption Show Caption James and April Kauffman

More than five years later, authorities announced during a press conference Tuesday that Kauffman was being charged with murder in connection with her death, along with Ferdinand Augello, 62, who authorities say was also involved in April's murder-for-hire killing.

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. Six other people have also since been arrested, and face racketeering charges linked to this case. She was attempting to get a divorce from him at the time and Atlantic County prosecutor Damon Tyner believes the 68-year-old medical professional "was intent to have her killed, as opposed to losing his financial empire".

Authorities say prior to 2011, James Kauffman and Augello had a relationship which centered on James Kauffman's medical practice.

Kim Pack poses with a photo of her late mother, talk-show host April Kauffman.

Kauffman has long maintained his innocence and denies any involvement in his wife's death, his attorney Ed Jacobs told Philly.com.

An endocrinologist, Kauffman allegedly gave free oxycodone scripts to at least two people sent by Augello, Tyner said.

Kauffman, 47, was killed, Tyner said, because she threatened to blow the whistle on her husband's alleged criminal activities while they were in the midst of a bitter divorce.

Ferdinand Augello, the Pagan charged with finding someone to kill April Kauffman, also was charged Tuesday with trying to have James Kauffman killed, authorities said.

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. "I think it puts the towns head to rest a little bit", said Linda Mullin, of Linwood. Dr. Kauffman is accused of hatching a murder-for-hire plot that ended with his wife's death. After about a year, a man who agreed to do it, Francis Mullholland, was driven to the home, where the doors were left open, and was given a gun, authorities said. "I have been waiting patiently for justice and today I was luckily enough to be granted justice". Those who received them either used the drugs or sold them, authorities said.

Authorities say April allegedly attempted to spend as much money as she could until a divorce was granted, authorities revealed on Tuesday.

Investigators say the illegal pill mill operation continued for five years after the murder until Kauffman's arrest last June.

Kauffman's practice was shut down last summer after authorities executed a search warrant and raid and he brandished a 9 mm gun and shouted "I'm not going to jail for this". A hostage negotiator persuaded him to surrender.

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