Police: Infamous arsonist caught scamming firefighters from prison
SEATTLE -- The man currently serving a 35-year sentence for setting the 1995 warehouse fire that killed four Seattle firefighters is facing even more prison time after allegedly being caught targeting firefighters, police officers and witnesses involved in his conviction in a fraud scheme.
According to the Seattle Police Department, Martin Pang was working with a former Tulalip Casino employee named Charles McClain to steal millions of dollars from both people from Pang's case and from McClain's former employers.
Pang had access to the personal information, including social security numbers and names, of many of his targets through court documents obtained through his lawyer, according to police.
He and McClain were reportedly going to use that information to set up credit accounts in the names of firefighters, officers and witnesses. They would then funnel money from those accounts and the Tulalip Casino's accounts into offshore bank accounts.
"Pang saw this as an opportunity to make a ton of money so he had a nest egg when he got out of prison," Seattle Police Det. Todd Jakobsen said in a press release.
Pang reportedly planned to take the money to Brazil after his scheduled release from the Monroe Correctional Complex in 2018. Pang fled to Brazil during the arson investigation in 1995.
The Washington State Department of Corrections discovered the plan and worked with the Seattle Police Department, FBI and Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force to stop Pang and McClain before they could steal any of their targets identities or money, according to police.
According to police, an undercover detective met with McClain and received checks, social security information and IDs belonging to the planned targets.
Pang reportedly gave a police source the names and social security numbers of witnesses from his case and had the names and social security numbers of 20 witnesses hidden in his cell at the Monroe Correctional Complex.
According to police, detectives discovered Pang had already accessed records containing the personal information of firefighters involved in his case.
McClain was arrested, and Pang is facing the loss of good-behavior time he has accumulated as well as another five years in prison.
Pang was originally convicted of manslaughter for the 1995 arson, which took the lives of firefighters Jim Brown, Randal Terlicker, Walter Kilgore, and Gregory Shoemaker.