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October 15, 2009

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today the following audits have been issued:

Department of Motor Vehicles: Vehicle Emissions Testing Program (2008-S-47)
Most of the vehicles registered in New York State must be tested annually to determine whether their exhaust emissions meet prescribed air quality standards. The tests are to be performed by private inspection facilities licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Auditors examined whether the tests were properly performed by certified emissions inspectors, and found that they generally were. Auditors also examined DMV’s oversight of the testing program and identified the need for certain improvements. In particular, auditors determined that DMV needed to better monitor the inspectors’ certification process and perform all required audits of the inspection facilities.

Department of Health: Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program (2008-S-88)
The Department of Health (DOH) is responsible for licensing and inspecting many of the clinical laboratories that operate in New York State. Auditors examined whether DOH was complying with its licensing and inspection requirements, and found that it generally was. However, DOH was not always inspecting the laboratories within the required time frames. Auditors also examined the actions taken by DOH in following up on complaints about the laboratories, and found that it was sometimes slow to respond to such complaints.

Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities: Taconic Developmental Disabilities Services Office: Controls Over Employee Overtime (2008-S-107)
State-funded services to individuals with developmental disabilities in a certain five-county area of New York State are delivered or overseen by OMRDD’s Taconic Developmental Disabilities Services Office (DDSO). Auditors examined the DDSO’s internal controls over employee overtime and found that overtime payments were sometimes made for work that was not properly documented. Auditors recommended that certain improvements be made in the DDSO’s controls over overtime.

Department of Taxation and Finance: Collection of Assessed Tax Liabilities (2008-S-164)
The Department of Taxation and Finance is supposed to follow certain procedures when it attempts to collect unpaid taxes from taxpayers. Auditors examined whether the department was following these procedures in a sample of 80 cases. Auditors found the department followed the required collection procedures in all cases.

Higher Education Services Corporation - Tuition Assistance Program: Technical Career Institutes (2008-T-3)
During the 2004-2005 through 2006-2007 academic years, Technical Career Institutes certified more than $32 million in Tuition Assistance Program awards. Auditors disallowed $578,843 of these awards as well as $14,459 for awards that related to other academic years. A total $593,302 was disallowed because students were incorrectly certified as eligible for the awards. For example, several students received awards even though they did not meet matriculation requirements.

Banking Department: Oversight of the ATM Safety Act (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-23)
Bank ATMs available to customers after regular banking hours must have adequate exterior lighting, video surveillance systems, automatic door-locking devices, and certain other safety features required by the ATM Safety Act. Auditors examined the actions taken by the Banking Department to monitor compliance with these requirements and found that improvements were needed. For example, the department did not have a complete list of all the ATMs covered by the act, was falling well short of meeting its annual inspection goals, and was not always notifying banks of safety violations in a timely manner. Auditors recommended that improvements be made in the Department’s oversight activities, and when they followed up on these matters with department officials, auditors found significant progress in making the improvements.

Department of Health: Inappropriate Medicaid Billings for Dental Services (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-34)
Auditors examined a sample of more than $300,000 in Medicaid claims submitted by a dentist who maintained eight dental facilities in Brooklyn. The audit was initiated because an ongoing analysis of Medicaid records indicated that the dentist had submitted questionable claims. For example, in several instances, the dentist claimed to have provided Medicaid recipients with fillings in all 32 of their teeth and shortly thereafter claimed to have extracted the teeth.

To determine whether the claims in our sample were valid, auditors visited the dentist’s office to review the related medical records. However, no records were available for us to review. Auditors disallowed all the claims in our sample and recommended DOH review an additional $1.4 million in Medicaid payments to the dentist. Auditors also recommended DOH implement controls that would prevent these kinds of overpayments in the future. When auditors followed up on these matters with DOH officials, they found DOH had fully implemented all of the recommendations.

State Government Accountability
The Office of the State Comptroller regularly audits state agencies, public authorities and New York City agencies. Auditors ensure that programs achieve their established goals, funds are used efficiently and assets are adequately protected against fraud, waste and abuse. DiNapoli’s office completes approximately 200 state audits and annually identifies hundreds of millions in savings and fraud each year.



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