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Former Islander Martin Pang plots identity theft, fraud in prison
Eighteen years after burning down his parents' frozen foods warehouse in Seattle's International District, Martin Pang has been caught attempting to commit more crime from behind bars.
Pang, 57, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but is scheduled to be released from the Monroe Correctional Complex in 2018.
The former Islander obtained the names and Social Security numbers of his intended targets — 20 witnesses, firefighters and police officers involved in his 1995 arson case, according to a Seattle Police Department press release.
Four Seattle firefighters died in the warehouse blaze, and Pang pled guilty to manslaughter.
Pang's adoptive parents, longtime Mercer Island residents now deceased, had owned their business, Mary Pang's Food Products Inc., for 40 years. Pang graduated from Mercer Island High School, married and divorced four times, and has two daughters.
The Washington State Department of Corrections recently uncovered Pang's plot to open credit accounts in the victims' names and transfer credit money to foreign bank accounts. Pang had an outside accomplice, Charles McClain, and the duo was also planning to steal money from Tulalip Casino bank accounts. McClain was once employed at the casino. They hoped to acquire tens of millions of dollars, according to the Seattle Police Department.
Investigators who partnered with the DOC include the SPD Major Crimes Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.
“Pang saw this as an opportunity to make a ton of money, so he had a nest egg when he got out of prison,” said SPD MCTF detective Todd Jakobsen. Pang intended to go to Brazil with the money after his future release from prison. Brazil was where he fled after his arson crime.
An undercover detective met with McClain and obtained Social Security information, checks and victims' IDs. Pang had acquired the information from court documents.
Police arrested McClain and found a list of names and Social Security numbers in Pang's prison cell, along with other evidence of firefighters' personal information.
Pang was not successful in actually stealing his victims' identities or money from the Tulalip Casino.
Charges have been forwarded to the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office. A conviction could result in Pang losing accumulated "good behavior time," and additional jail time of up to five years.