MAYS LANDING — The ex-wife of alleged Pagans leader Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Superior Court to racketeering charges related to the 2012 murder of April Kauffman.

Beverly Augello, 48, of Summerland Key, Florida, is the first of seven defendants in the case to be arraigned after their April 3 indictment.

Augello was released from jail in February pending trial and ordered to stay in Atlantic and Cape May counties. She is charged with racketeering, distribution of drugs and conspiracy to distribute drugs for her alleged involvement in an opioid drug ring prosecutors say her ex-husband and James Kauffman ran out of Kauffman’s Egg Harbor Township medical office.

According to the affidavits in the case, Beverly Augello allegedly handled the money James Kauffman used to pay Freddy Augello for hiring the now-deceased hitman, Francis Mulholland, of the Villas section of Lower Township, to kill April Kauffman.

Augello’s attorney, Hal Kokes, of Pleasantville, met his client Tuesday morning in court before Judge Bernard DeLury and waived the reading of the charges. According to Kokes, and later confirmed by Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy, the state has made a plea offer to Beverly Augello. Kokes told DeLury he needs time to review the discovery in the case, which he called “voluminous.” Levy said there likely will be additional discovery.

Kokes also indicated he may request to see a copy of the apparent suicide note left behind in the Hudson County jail in January by James Kauffman.

“The state’s not going to consent to any discovery of the suicide letter. We’re aware of the contents,” Levy said, adding he doesn’t believe they pertain to any of the remaining defendants.

Kauffman, who was already in jail on weapons and obstruction charges stemming from a June 2017 armed standoff, was transferred from Atlantic County to Hudson County after the arrest of alleged co-conspirator Freddy Augello. Prosecutors say Freddy Augello plotted to kill James Kauffman, so they moved the doctor to keep him safe.

Kauffman, 68, of Linwood, was found dead in his cell nearly two weeks later in an apparent suicide. Levy said the initial discovery contains 4,000 documents, but not the suicide note.

According to an Open Public Records Act request response from Hudson County, the note was addressed to Kauffman’s wife, Carole Weintraub, and his attorney, Edwin Jacobs, and therefore not considered a public document subject to OPRA.

Beverly Augello’s next scheduled appearance will be her first status conference at 9 a.m. June 14.

Freddy Augello, 62, of Upper Township, is scheduled for an arraignment Thursday. He is charged with the murder of April Kauffman, attempted murder of James Kauffman, leading a drug-trafficking network through Kauffman’s medical office, distribution of drugs and conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Additional co-defendants, also charged with racketeering and scheduled for arraignment over the next 10 days are:

• Joseph Mulholland, 52, of the Villas

• Glenn Seeler, 37, of Sanford, North Carolina

• Paul Pagano, 51, of Egg Harbor Township

• Tabitha Chapman, 35, of Absecon

• Cheryl Pizza, 37, of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

Contact: 609-272-7258 Twitter @acpressmaxreil

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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