Seattle police say one of the most infamous arsonists in Seattle history, Martin Pang, was recently caught planning “to defraud and steal the identities of firefighters, police officers and witnesses involved in his decades-old case.” With the help of an accomplice on the outside, authorities say Pang planned “to set up credit accounts in the names of firefighters, police officers, and witnesses involved in [his] 1995 conviction for manslaughter and funnel money from those accounts into offshore bank accounts.”
According to investigators, from there the money was to be sent to an offshore bank account, to be used by Pang once he was released from prison. Pang is said to have had plans to return to Brazil upon his release, where he fled in 1995 while under investigation for arson. The Tulalip Casino, where Pang’s accomplice previously worked, was also targeted, and authorities say the two believed that “they would rake in tens of millions of dollars from their scheme.”
“Pang saw this as an opportunity to make a ton of money, so he had a nest egg when he got out of prison,” SPD MCTF detective Todd Jakobsen tells the SPD Blotter blog.
Investigators say Pang unwittingly provided a police source with the names and social security numbers of key witnesses in his 1995 case. “He wanted to make a bunch of money and already had their information from court documents,” Det. Jakobsen tells the Blotter blog. “This was a crime of opportunity.” Later, during a search of his cell, a list of the names and social security numbers of 20 witnesses in Pang’s arson case were located, and evidence was uncovered that indicated Pang had recently accessed records containing the personal information of firefighters involved in his case through his attorney.
Police say Pang’s accomplice was also stymied by an undercover officer, who allegedly provided the detective with checks, social security information, and the IDs of would-be fraud targets.
Currently, Pang is scheduled to see freedom in 2018, though these new allegations could add some time to his stay at the Monroe Correctional Complex, where he’s currently serving a 35-year sentence. The results of the investigation – which was conducted by the state Department of Corrections and the SPD Major Crimes Task Force – have been forwarded to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration of charges. If convicted, police say Pang risks losing significant “good behavior time” (no shit), in addition to the possibility of a new five-year sentence.