• Lynda Cohen

Two more plead guilty in Kauffman case

Updated: May 8

Two women pleaded guilty Thursday in the oxycodone ring that allegedly led to the killing of veterans advocate April Kauffman. Beverly Augello, a former wife of the only person facing a murder charge in the May 10, 2012, killing. faces as long as four years in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree racketeering in the case. Co-defendant Tabitha Chapman admitted to third-degree conspiracy to possess oxycodone. She will now apply for pretrial intervention, or PTI, which would allow her to avoid prosecution upon completion of the program. Eight people were originally charged in the case alleging Dr. James Kauffman led an opioid ring from his Egg Harbor Township office. He was also accused of conspiring with alleged partner Freddy Augello to have his wife, local radio host April Kauffman, killed after she found out about the illegal endeavor. The disgraced doctor was not charged until this year. He was later found dead inside his Hudson County jail cell in what has been deemed a suicide. Augello is set to go to trial Sept. 11 in the killing and drug ring. He is the only person now charged in the killing. Five people have now pleaded guilty in the case, leaving just Augello and Paul Pagano, who has a court hearing set days after Augello’s trial begins. All have agreed to testify against Freddy Augello at his trial, if called. Sentencings in the case are set for Oct. 25, although that could change. At that time, Beverly Augello’s defense can argue for a suspended sentence, meaning she wouldn’t have to go to prison. As part of the deal, she also pleaded guilty to a drug charge, after she was arrested during a motor vehicle in Corbin City in April, when police found cocaine. That sentence — also a maximum of four years — would run concurrent to the racketeering term. If Chapman is not accepted into PTI, her attorney can also argue for a noncustodial term. Extensive plea discussions have continued for both Beverly Augello and Chapman. Lawyers in the case cannot comment under a gag order issued by Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury, at the request of the state.


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