RARITAN TOWNSHIP — Hunterdon County authorities are searching for a Delaware couple that ran off with $18,000 meant for charities.

Michelle, 41, and Phillip Gaughan, 36, were indicted last month by a Hunterdon County grand jury on third-degree theft by failure to make required disposition of property received and third-degree conspiracy.

But the two remain fugitives and officials are offering a $500 reward for information leading to their arrest.

Prosecutors said the couple’s business, DB Charity Fundraising, had been hired in March by Diamond Nation, an amateur sporting complex in this township, to help raise money for local charities.

The couple presented Diamond Nation with a check for $18,000. But when the company took it to the bank, it bounced.

Diamond Nation ended up providing the funds to the charities out of their own pocket, but hope to recover the funds.

The Gaughans, meanwhile, have disappeared.

Philip Gaughan, left, and wife Michelle Gaughan in 2011. (AP Photo)

“These are appalling crimes that take advantage of the generosity of the citizens and businesses in our community,” Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III said this week.

The same couple was in the news several years ago after Phillip Gaughan sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia claiming he had been molested by a priest as a child and that clergy had tried to cover up the abuse. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

Crime Stoppers of Hunterdon County is offering the cash reward of $500.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-321-0010 or by going to www.crimestoppershunterdon.com, or text messaging “HCTIPS” with the message to 274637.

Tipsters can also download the free mobile app “Tipsubmit” and select Hunterdon County to submit anonymous tips via text messaging.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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