MAYS LANDING, N.J. — Authorities on Wednesday detailed a plot to kill James Kauffman, an Atlantic County doctor accused of arranging his wife's murder in May 2012.
Kauffman's alleged partner in crime, Ferdinand Augello, sought to have mobsters and jail inmates kill the doctor in recent weeks because he feared the Linwood man would betray him to investigators, according to information released Wednesday by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.
A probable cause statement for Augello's arrest details a falling out between two men who allegedly worked together for years to peddle painkillers prescribed by the doctor and to arrange the May 2012 murder of his wife, radio personality April Kauffman.
The alleged partnership ended in June, when investigators arrested Kauffman, 68, after raiding his home and Egg Harbor Township office, the prosecutor's office said.
According to the probable cause statement, Augello, 61, discussed killing James Kauffman in "numerous conversations" from November through this month.
Augello, described as a leader of the Cape May County chapter of The Pagans motorcycle gang, was secretly recorded while talking to a "confidential informant," the probable cause statement said.
It alleged Augello initially said "that he had an associate who had a relative in the Mafia that would take care of Kauffman."
When those plans didn't work out, Augello discussed having Kauffman killed inside Atlantic County Jail, where the doctor has been held since June, the statement alleged.
In conversations in December and January, the statement said, the co-conspirator told Augello "that he had individuals who would kill Kauffman" at the jail. It asserted Augello on multiple occasions "told the co-conspirator to have his individuals … proceed with the plan to kill Kauffman."
Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced murder charges Tuesday against Kauffman and Augello in connection with April Kauffman's death. Six other people were charged with racketeering for their alleged roles in the drug ring.
Tyner also said Augello, a resident of Petersburg, Cape May County, was charged with conspiring to kill James Kauffman, but released no details.
Kauffman and Augello allegedly profited from the sale of prescription painkillers from 2011 through mid-2017, the prosecutor's office said.
According to Tyner, Kauffman turned to Augello to arrange his wife's murder in the summer of 2011.
The prosecutor said April Kauffman had threatened to expose the doctor's alleged crimes if he did not agree to a divorce. She also sought to pressure him by spending "as much money as she could," Tyner said.
According to another probable cause statement, Kauffman agreed to write painkiller prescriptions for people sent to his office by Augello. The purported patients included several individuals with ties to the Pagans, the statement added.
"In exchange, Kauffman received cash from each referred individual, as well as Augello's promise to have Kauffman's wife murdered," it said.
The prosecutor's office alleged Augello approached numerous people affiliated with The Pagans before finding a hitman identified as Francis Mullholland. It said he shot April Kauffman after entering her home during the early morning of May 10, 2012.
Linwood police found April Kauffman's body around 11:30 a.m. ET after responding to a 911 call about an unconscious woman at the home.
Authorities have released few details about Mullholland, who is now dead.
Follow Jim Walsh on Twitter: @jwalsh_cp