The U.S. attorney’s office last week arrested four consultants for allegedly defrauding New York City and misappropriating $80 million on an electronic payroll project.

The CityTime project was supposed to create a more efficient and accountable payroll system but the consultants are alleged to have billed the city for work never performed and to have received kickbacks from subcontractors. Money was then funneled through shell companies to hide the fraud, according to the complaint.

The project is part of the city’s capital plan, which is primarily financed through bond proceeds. The city has spent or budgeted $641 million of capital dollars since 2000 on a system that was originally estimated to cost $63 million.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Comptroller John Liu on Thursday announced that Joel Bondy, executive director of the Office of Payroll Administration who was in charge of overseeing the project, has been suspended. Deputy mayor for operations Stephen Goldsmith, in cooperation with the comptroller’s office, will now oversee the project.

U.S attorney Preet Bharara announced charges against Mark Mazer, Dmitry Aronshtein, Victor Natanzon, and Scott Berger for their role in the alleged fraud.

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