Computer programmer George Perez, convicted of aiding his former boss Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme, has received support from the fraudster himself.
Emails Madoff sent from his North Carolina prison, where he is serving a 150-year sentence, could now help Perez secure a lower sentence next month.
In the email filed in Manhattan federal court by Perez's defence lawyers, Madoff described a meeting in which he said he told Perez and another programmer, Jerome O'Hara, that the trading at his firm was legitimate.
According to the email correspondence, Madoff reached out to the defence lawyers and offered to provide information that might help their cases, Reuters reported.
"[Perez and O'Hara] [asked] if I was buying the securities that they showed on the reports," Madoff wrote.
"I answered, 'of course' and explained that I had trading and custodial arrangements with all the major investment banks in Europe and the US who traded with us every day."
Prosecutors have asked for more than eight years in prison for Perez and O'Hara.
The duo were found guilty in March on all counts along with three other former Madoff employees – back office director Daniel Bonventre and portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi – following a nearly six-month trial.
At trial, the government's star witness, Madoff's former deputy Frank DiPascali, had testified about the meeting involving Madoff, Perez and O'Hara, which took place in September 2006.
According to DiPascali, the programmers confronted Madoff after stating concerns they had given fake data to government regulators.
DiPascali claimed the men refused to continue generating data reports and demanded additional pay, including a proposal that they be paid in diamonds.
Madoff's brother, Peter, pleaded guilty in 2012 to his part in the $65bn (£40bn, €51bn) fraud and was sentenced to10 years in jail.
Bernard, 76, pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to 150 years in prison for controlling the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.