City Comptroller John Liu found the city paid $11.8 million in rent subsidies to deceased New Yorkers in recent years, the New York Daily News reported. Liu turned the audit over to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. to determine whether crimes were behind the wasted expenditures.
Much of the problem comes from the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program, which subsidizes landlords to ensure they don’t increase rent on tenants aged 62 and older making less than $29,000 per year. Landlords are supposed to notify the city within 30 days if the tenant moves or passes away. But 3,801 landlords received those subsidies on behalf of deceased tenants.
“There’s no excuse for losing this much money – management lapse, willful fraud or otherwise,” Liu said in a statement.
City officials said they had already spotted some of the errors and recouped $3.3 million of the funds, and will work to regain the rest of it. [NYDN]