Former Pagan charged with witness tampering in Kauffman murder case
An Egg Harbor Township man is charged with witness tampering and cyber-bullying after Facebook posts targeting a former co-defendant in the James Kauffman drug ring case. John Kachbalian, 56, has regularly posted Facebook statuses about the case, which includes the 2012 killing of veterans advocate April Kauffman. The 56-year-old known as “The Egyptian” is apparently a retired member of the Pagan Motorcycle Club, which was prominently named in the alleged drug ring that Kauffman was accused of heading with another Pagan, Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello. Six others were charged with racketeering in the case. Recently, Kachbalian posted a picture of a naked woman facing away from the camera that he insinuated was Augello’s ex-wife, Beverly, who recently pleaded guilty in the case, and has agreed to testify against her former husband and business partner. “Guess which ‘Lying Rat’ this is,” he wrote. “Hint, this (expletive) while out on bail for Murder Conspiracy and Drug Racketeering Case and after she agreed to snitch on her ex-husband, got arrested in April for cocaine, but through the help of her handlers at ACPO & FBI no mention in local news. In and out of confinement nice and quite. Even the one sided judge had no issue with her bail. Street justice at it’s best.” The complaint does not name Beverly Augello, but does describe the photo. Kachbalian is now charged with first-degree witness tampering, cyber harassment, posting obscene material and invasion of privacy/disclose sex act without consent, according to court records. Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced the charges Tuesday, nearly a week after the arrest. He did not mention the case’s ties to the Kauffman case, likely because of the state-requested gag order in that case. “Witnesses are integral to prosecuting cases and bringing criminals to justice,” Tyner said in a statement. “Anyone who attempts to threaten, intimidate or otherwise interfere with witnesses to crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” The posts remained publicly visible on his Facebook page. Kachbalian’s earlier posts have focused on Andrew Glick, an admitted informant in the case and former Pagan. A status made just before his arrest re-posted a witness list that he labeled “Rat Roster.” He makes sure to add that while Paul Pagano — the only other defendant not to plead — is wrongly listed as a witness for the defense. Pagano is headed to trial in the case. “This list is posted for the sole purpose for you protection & safety only,” he writes. Kachbalian remains in the Atlantic County Justice Facility. A detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
UPDATE: The day after Kachbalian’s arrest, Augello warned his friends via Facebook to be careful what they post on social media. “I want you all to know that you could be sought out, arrested and prosecuted by the local neo fascists for just venting or expressing your point of view,” he wrote via intermediary in a post Saturday. “This is actually happening if one can even believe it. The depths of desperation and depravity seem to be bottomless… I am wondering when the book burnings will begin?” Augello did not mention names or any details about the case, so it doesn’t seem to violate Judge Bernard DeLury’s state-requested gag order.