A New Jersey endocrinologist, James Kauffman, MD, has been charged with arranging the murder of his wife, April Kauffman, who was a local radio host. She was shot dead aged 47 at their home five and a half years ago, in May 2012, and Dr Kauffman had been the subject of much speculation regarding her death, with her family long suspecting him of playing a role.
Prosecutors, who charged Dr Kauffman on Tuesday, outlined a lurid tale that they say led him to hire someone to kill his wife. This involved him running an opioid 'pill mill' together with a motorcycle gang called Pagan Outlaw according to a report on Philly.com
April Kauffman found out about the illegal drug-prescribing scheme and threatened to expose it, and she also wanted out of the marriage, prosecutors say.
"As a result of April Kauffman's desire to divorce James Kauffman, he was intent to have her killed, as opposed to losing his 'financial empire,' as he described it to several individuals," noted Atlantic County prosecutor Damon Tyner.
April Kauffman's daughter, Kimberly Pack, 35, said on Tuesday that the details she had heard about her step-father, whom she long suspected of being involved in her mother's death, were "gut-wrenching." She said her mother had shared fears about her husband, but had been unaware of the bigger picture.
Dr Kauffman Was Already in Jail
Dr Kauffman, who is in his late 60s, was already being held in Atlantic County jail on weapons charges after wielding a gun in June 2017 when authorities searched his medical practice in Egg Harbor Township.
In September 2017, Dr Kauffman pleaded not guilty to multiple weapons charges but was detained in jail. His medical license was suspended in New Jersey and Pennsylvania pending resolution of the charges, according to multiple news reports.
Dr Kauffman has now been charged with murder, first-degree racketeering, and being a leader of a narcotic-trafficking organization.
Prosecutor Tyner said Dr Kauffman maintained a "long-term alliance" with members of the Pagan Outlaw motorcycle gang, an association allegedly formed to use Dr Kauffman's practice for financial gain related to an illegal drug distribution ring.
Dr Kauffman allegedly wrote prescriptions for opiates for bogus patients recruited by another Pagan Outlaw member, Ferdinand Augello, with Kaufmann getting $1000 per prescription.
When his wife found out about the drugs ring and threatened to expose him, Dr Kaufmann solicited Augello to recruit someone to murder his wife, prosecutors claim. Augello hired a killer by the name of Frank Mulholland, who was allegedly paid $20,000 to kill April Kaufmann. Mulholland died of a drug overdose in 2013.
The illegal drug scheme continued after April Kauffman's death, say her family and friends, who advocated tirelessly for "Justice for April," even as Dr Kauffman continued to practice and remarried in 2014.
Dr Kaufmann's attorney Ed Jacobs said he had not officially been informed of the charges, but said Dr Kauffman has long maintained his innocence.
"Suffice it to say that Dr Kauffman has consistently denied any involvement whatsoever in the homicide of his wife," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer (Philly.com) by phone.
According to Dr Kauffman's practice website, he received his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, in 1977 and completed a fellowship in endocrinology in 1982 at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
Augello has also been charged with murder, first-degree racketeering, and being a leader of a narcotic-trafficking organization. And in another twist, Augello was additionally charged with conspiracy to commit murder related to Dr Kauffman.
Six other people have been charged in connection with the drugs ring.
A timeline of April Kaufmann's death and subsequent events is detailed in The Press of Atlantic City.
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Cite this: Endocrinologist Allegedly Ran Pill Mill With Bike Gang, Murdered His Wife - Medscape - Jan 11, 2018.