Police & Fire

Couple Sought in Charity Fraud Is Arrested

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FLEMINGTON, NJ – A fugitive couple that was wanted in connection with the theft of more than $18,000 raised for charity has been arrested.

Michelle Gaughan, 41, and Philip Gaughan, 36, were indicted in November on charges of third-degree theft by failure to make required disposition of property received, and third-degree conspiracy. They became fugitives when they failed to appear in court. Warrants were then issued for their arrests.  

Michelle Gaughan voluntarily surrendered to police last month and was released on her own recognizance.

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Phillip Gaughan was arrested in Clayton, Delaware on Dec. 13, Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III announced this morning. He was extradited to New Jersey and lodged in Somerset County Jail with bail set at $20,000.

According to Kearns, DB Charity Fundraising, operated by the Gaughans, was hired by Diamond Nation, of Raritan Township, to raise money for various charities around the area.

The events raised more than $18,000 that was earmarked for the charities. The Gaughans gave a check to Diamond Nation for $18,000, but it was later returned by the bank for lack of funds.

The Gaughans then disappeared. Diamond Nation used its own funds to make the $18,000 payout to the charities.

“These are crimes that take advantage of the generosity of the citizens and businesses in our community,” Kearns said. “These two individuals thought they could get away from responsibility in these cases but law enforcement remained vigilant and they were brought to justice.” 

The announcement was made by Kearns and Chief of Detectives John Kuczynski.

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