Ferdinand "Freddy" Augello, 61, was a well-liked guy down the Shore who played guitar in a familiar band, the Who Dat, a long-haired graphic artist who'd walk into a coffee house and sit in with whatever band was playing.

But prosecutors say Augello was also president of the Cape May Chapter of the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, and the co-mastermind of a vast Oxycontin operation who conspired with endocrinologist Dr. James Kauffman to keep the drug money flowing by murdering Kauffman's wife, April, in May 2012.

And now, prosecutors say, Augello was recorded "numerous" times admitting to an informant the details of both the drug ring run by Pagans out of Kauffman's Egg Harbor Township practice, and the murder of April Kauffman.

"A confidential informant has had numerous recorded conversations with Ferdinand Augello and other individuals who have admitted to the details of the 'enterprise' including prescription fraud and the murder of April Kauffman," the affidavits, filed along with the murder charges, said.

In addition, affidavits say, in the last three months, Augello had "numerous conversations" with another person in which they planned to commit the murder of Kauffman inside the Atlantic County jail, where Kauffman was being held on weapons charges stemming from a June raid of his office, to prevent the doctor from implicating Augello in criminal activity.

Augello first said he could arrange for a relative in the mafia to take care of Kauffman, a plan that "did not come to fruition," the affidavits said. Later,  the co-conspirator advised Augello that he had individuals who would kill Kauffman at the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

"On numerous occasions, Ferdinand Augello advised his co-conspirator that he wanted Kaufman dead and told the co-conspirator to have his individuals to proceed with the plan to kill Kauffman," the affidavit said.

On Facebook, Augello, a 1975 graduate of Holy Spirit High School, is a guy with lots of mutual friends with Shore journalists and musicians, and what appears to be a thriving guitar and graphics business known as Freddymade Guitars.

But documents filed in the case allege that the money James Kauffman and Freddy Augello made with their OXY ring was used to buy "guitars, firearms, vehicles and a home in Arizona."

Kauffman, Augello, and three other co-defendants in the drug ring are scheduled for first appearances later Thursday morning via video in Atlantic County Court. The dramatic arrests cap a nearly five year drought in the case, which was revived by current Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner.

James Kauffman (left), an Atlantic City-area doctor, stands outside the house he shared with his wife, April Kauffman (right) who was shot to death.
File photo
James Kauffman (left), an Atlantic City-area doctor, stands outside the house he shared with his wife, April Kauffman (right) who was shot to death.

The slaying has long shaken the Linwood community where the Kauffmans, both on third marriages, lived a flashy lifestyle, but the charges announced this week involving Pagans left the local music community equally shaken. "He came in to the coffee house and played guitar with us," said one local musician Wednesday. "Always thought he was nice. Ya never know!!"

The affidavits lay out a criminal enterprise that had essentially infiltrated Kauffman's busy practice, with Augello sending a half dozen Pagan associates into the office regularly to obtain prescriptions for oxycontin. The affidavits say Kauffman received both cash and a promise that his wife would be killed in exchange for providing the opioids to Augello's associates. The money from the enterprise funded both Kauffman's practice and the Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, authorities allege.

The affidavits allege that Augello, after a year of trying to find a hit man, unsuccessfully soliciting fellow Pagans, hired Francis Mullholland to execute the murder, and paid him $20,000.

"On May 10th, 2012, Mullholland entered the Kauffman home and shot April Kauffman twice, resulting in her death," the affidavit states.

Mulholland, of Lower Township, died in October, 2013 of an overdose, the prosecutor said.

James Kauffman, Augello plus defendants Paul Pagano and Tabitha Chapman all had first appearances via remote video Thursday before Judge Bernard DeLury and were all ordered held pending depention hearings next week.. Pagano and Chapman, who prosecutors said was romantically involved with Augello, are charged with racketeering.