NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) – A new audit shows that New York City paid out nearly $12 million in rent subsidies in recent years to 4,000 deceased residents.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

“It may be funny for some people, but it’s actually pretty sad,” said City Comptroller John Liu.

City officials say they’ve already recouped $3.3 million and plan to collect the rest.

The audit by Liu covered the period from July 2009 to November 2010.

“It is totally unacceptable and the Department of Finance and the landlords have to reign in this kind of waste, if not abuse,” Liu told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

Liu has turned over his findings to the Manhattan district attorney’s office to determine if any crimes were committed.

The city says it discovered the errors even before the comptroller uncovered them.

The problem emerged from a popular program called the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program. It assists low-income elderly tenants with their rents.

Landlords or family members are required to notify the city within 30 days if participants move or die.

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