PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A federal audit says Rhode Island charged $1.2 million in unnecessary expenses to a program established in 2010 to prevent foreclosures in the states hardest hit by the economic crisis.

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said in a tweet that Rhode Island used the Hardest Hit Fund as a “piggy bank.”

Among other things, the audit questioned hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in 2016 to open a customer center that was also used for purposes unrelated to the program. The report noted that a similar center was opened in 2010.

Rhode Island officials tell The Providence Journal the first customer center closed when the money from the first round of funding ran out. The new center was opened after the state received more money.

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