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Martin Pang, the arsonist who set a 1995 warehouse fire that killed four Seattle firefighters, was positioning himself for an after-prison “life of luxury” through two schemes hatched behind bars, according to Seattle police — one to steal the identities of witnesses against him and a second to siphon millions of dollars from the Tulalip Resort Casino.
Police said Tuesday that Pang, 57, engineered an elaborate identity-fraud scheme with an alleged accomplice on the outside that focused on stealing the identities of firefighters, police officers and witnesses who played a role in his criminal case.
The two are also accused of plotting to set up phony vendor accounts to steal from the Marysville casino, where Pang’s alleged accomplice, Charles McClain, once worked.
According to Pugel, Pang had birth dates and Social Security numbers of fire and police personnel from training records that were included in discovery materials turned over by prosecutors as part of the manslaughter case. State law has since changed, allowing agencies to redact Social Security numbers from such records, he said.
Martin Pang set the fire at Mary Pang frozen food warehouse burned in 1995. While fighting the fire, Seattle firefighters Walter Kilgore, Gregory Shoemaker, James Brown and Randy Terlicker plunged to their deaths when the floor collapsed.
In March, the Washington State Department of Corrections learned Pang and a man outside of prison planned to set up credit accounts in the names of firefighters and others, then send the money to off-shore bank accounts.
An undercover detective was able to connect with the pair before Pang and his partner, Charles McClain, could put their plan into action.
Authorities arrested McClain. While searching Pang’s cell, they also found evidence including social security numbers of witnesses and the personal information of firefighters in Pang’s case.
After arresting McClain, a search of Pang’s prison cell turned up a list of the names and social security numbers of 20 witnesses in Pang’s 1995 arson case. Investigators also found evidence he had recently accessed records through his attorney with personal information of firefighters involved in his case.
“The latest allegations bring back painful memories for the families of the four firefighters who died in the line of duty and for the Seattle firefighters,” said Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean.
Pang, scheduled for release in 2018, could face another five years in prison if convicted and lose significant “good behavior time,” accumulated while serving his sentence.
Also on STATter911 …
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- 35 years after deadly arson police search fire department. 1978 Greece, NY Holiday Inn fire investigation leads to seizure of fire chief’s computer & other material. – November 16, 2013
- Firehouse arson is an inside job. Albany, VT volunteer under arrest. – August 16, 2013
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