Ben Johnson


Former NARAL leader must pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraud

Ben Johnson

AUBURN, NEW YORK, June 29, 2012, ( – A former longtime president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York will have to pay back $250,000 she improperly diverted for her private use, according to the state’s attorney general’s office.

Last February, an audit discovered Kelli Conlin had falsely claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenitures as business expenses. This included a $50,000 tab at retailers like Giorgio Armani, 120 non-deductible meals at a sushi restaurant near her home, and $17,000 to rent a home in the Hamptons for one month.

Conlin pleaded guilty to the felony of falsifying business records last summer.

Her annual salary accounted for $309,000 of the state organization’s $4.5 million budget.

At the time Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life, told her arrest “shows just how corrupt pro-abortion groups are. They are not in it to help women, but rather for their own selfish profit.”

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State Attorney General Eric Scheniderman recused himself from the case after pro-life Democrat Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. exposed his close family ties to the abortion advocacy group.  Scheniderman’s father, Irving, served as treasurer for NARAL Pro-Choice New York. The organization strongly backed the state’s top prosecutor in his election bid.

Jason Lilien, chief of the Charities Bureau, said, “We will vigorously crack down on those who rip off the public for their own personal gain.”

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