Criminals She Threatened To Expose A Prominent Doctor's Drug Ring - He Made Sure She Didn't  

Jacob Shelton
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In 2012 James Kauffman, one of the worst doctors of all time, had his wife murdered after she threatened to drop dime on the clandestine opioid ring he was running with a local biker gang. The death of April Kauffman is something out of an exploitation movie: there’s dirty money, a B-team biker gang, and even a bumbling hitman. If a woman hadn’t tragically lost her life, this story where a doctor murders his wife to conceal his drug ring would be downright entertaining.

The James Kauffman opium murder case is made up of a loose collection of crimes that have managed to knot themselves together thanks to poor planning and shortsightedness on the part of brainiacs who were at the top of the drug ring. This story, with a woman murdered by husband for threatening to expose a drug ring, almost disappeared from the media after her killer was never caught. However, after James Kauffman was arrested for medical fraud his world of crime crashed down around him.

April Kauffman Was Murdered In Her Bedroom

In May of 2012, April Kauffman was found face down in her Linwood, New Jersey bedroom. Her body had been discovered by a handyman who had stopped by to feed the family's pet birds, and she'd suffered multiple gunshot wounds. At first, her murder was treated as suspicious, but no one was charged. Dr. James Kauffman, her then-husband, claimed that he was already at work at the time of her death and that he didn't have anything to do with her murder.  

Kauffman was a radio host in Ocean City, New Jersey, who had given her unexpectedly last broadcast only the day before her death. CBS News reported that she also "advocated for military veterans" and "had received a governor's award for outstanding community service a few days before her death."

Doctor James Kauffman Thought He Was A Drug Kingpin

James Kauffman was an endocrinologist from New Jersey who lived the good life. He had a great practice and was married to a radio host, but he wanted more. After he began working with the Pagan Motorcycle Club to build a small-time opioid drug ring, April found out. And for a while, she kept his secret.

But when Kauffman and April started breaking up, she threatened to expose his illegal dealings and he freaked out. According to Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner, Kauffman allegedly said that he would rather kill April than lose his "financial empire" in a divorce. 

Kaufmann And His Accomplice Worked Off The Books To Make Money On Prescription Drugs

Dr. Kauffman wasn't stupid enough to sell drugs out of his office, but he wasn't very smart, either. According to prosecutors, in his racketeering case Kauffman teamed up with the Pagan Motorcycle Club to sell opioids, but the ring's sales methodology was kind of complicated.

According to prosecutors as reported by The Cut, Kaurffman worked closely with an accomplice, Ferdinand Augello: 

"[T]he racketeering operation involved Kauffmann giving free pain medication prescriptions to people sent by Augello, who would receive about $1,000 per prescription and a number of pills once they had been filled. Those without insurance were required to pay $100 per visit

It's likely that after Augello got his cut off the pills, he would turn around sell those in a personal drug ring. 

Kaufmann's Arrest Was Straight Out Of A Movie

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After April Kauffman was murdered in her bedroom, James continued on with his practice as if nothing had happened. However, her murder put an even bigger police bullseye on his back, and five years later, in 2017, officials raided his office. For close to 40 minutes Kauffman barricaded himself inside his office with a 9mm handgun while shouting, “I’m not going to jail for this!”

In early 2018, bodycam footage from the arrest was released and it's fairly harrowing. It's obvious that the police thought that they were in for a firefight. The officer with the bodycam warns another officer to stay behind him because he's wearing a vest. Luckily Kauffman was arrested without getting into a shootout with the police.