Madoff Begs That Two Ex-Employees Get Leniency

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Trial Of Former Madoff Employees Begins
GettyGeorge Perez, an ex-employee Madoff is trying to help.


Convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff, credited with the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, electronically reached out from his jail cell and asked the courts to spare two of his former employees, as CNN Money reported. According to Madoff, it was literally a case of "they know not what they do."

Five of his staff members were found guilty but wanted their verdicts thrown out, as the New York Post reported, claiming that government witnesses lied. But two of them, computer programmers George Perez and Jerome O'Hara, now have an email Madoff sent to one of the defense lawyers in which he claimed that the pair really didn't know what was happening, according to CNN.

According to Madoff, the two raised questions about the reports he had asked them to prepare. They were "uncomfortable" and asked if he was actually buying the securities that the reports claimed he was. Madoff said his answer was, "Of course." He also claimed to have passed multiple regulatory examinations.

Of course, he had made no trades. In a Ponzi scheme, some of the money brought in is paid to early investors to create the illusion of a successful company. Scammers then divert most of the rest to their own use.

O'Hara and Perez are schedule to be sentenced in November, along with several other former employees. Both programmers were convicted of multiple felonies, including falsifying records of an investment advisor and securities fraud.

However, some facts might weigh against the plea. According to Madoff's former finance chief, Frank DiPascali, Perez and O'Hara asked for payment in diamonds after their questions about the propriety of the activity, which apparently involved changing older data and then writing code to cover up the activity. Instead, they allegedly received big raises.

Madoff told DiPascali to give the pair anything they wanted, he testified. A few weeks later, O'Hara and Perez told DiPascali "they didn't want their fingerprints on this crap any longer," he said. They also told him they deleted all the "special" programs they'd written to trick regulators and change previous computer entries, DiPascali said.

Since Madoff's fall, when he finally pled guilty to pocketing nearly $20 billion from his investors, many have been caught in the wake. Not only are his employees facing serious jail time, but his family has been shattered, according to CBSNews.com, with one son having committed suicide and another and his wife claiming they, too, had been duped. Madoff's brother was also convicted and received a ten-year sentence.

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