Merrill Lynch & Co. is reported to have given out a combined $121 million to the top four bonus recipients at the company just before the firm was acquired by Bank of America Corp., according to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo wrote the claims in a letter sent February 10 to US House Financial Service Chairman Barney Frank.

One disturbing question that must be answered is whether Merrill Lynch and Bank of America timed the bonuses in such a way as to force taxpayers to pay for them through the deal funding, Cuomo said in the letter, according to Bloomberg.

Former Merrill Chief Executive Officer John Thain and Bank of America Chief Administrative Officer, Steele Alphin have been subpoenaed by Cuomo about the bonuses.