NEW YORK (AP) — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says payroll consultants accused of stealing $80 million from the city were allegedly able to do so because they simply slipped through the cracks.

Four city consultants were charged with defrauding the city. They had been working on a project to consolidate the city’s payroll and timekeeping records. The wife and mother of one consultant were also charged. They all say they’re innocent.

Bloomberg said Friday on his weekly radio show that the alleged fraud should have been detected earlier. But he said the city can’t investigate everything at all times.

He said this project in particular involved many layers of contracts, which can be difficult to police.

He declared the city is still relatively free of corruption and crime, despite the latest case.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Watch & Listen LIVE