Coroner: No foul play in death of Calif. financier

SANTA ANA, California: Foul play was ruled out Sunday in the death of indicted Taiwan-born financier Danny Pang but it could be months before the details of his death are revealed, authorities said.

The Orange County coroner's office said an autopsy found that no foul play was involved, but it would take two to three months before toxicology tests could be completed and a cause of death for Pang could be offered, said Deputy Mitchell Segal.

Pang, a Taiwanese immigrant who was accused by federal investigators of bilking international investors out of millions, died Saturday at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach a day after police and paramedics were called to his gated-community home.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission froze Pang's assets in April, ordered him to surrender his passports and bring back to the United States any assets he had sent overseas.

He stepped aside as chairman and chief executive officer of his US$4 billion firm, Private Equity Management Group Inc., based in Irvine, California.

The SEC said Pang falsely showed returns on investments in timeshare real estate and life insurance policies, but actually ran a Ponzi scheme, using money from newer investors to pay earlier ones.

In a statement released after his death, Pang's family called him a "wonderful husband, loving father and honest businessman" who "would have been vindicated if he had been given that opportunity."

The court-appointed received in charge of Pang's companies, said in court documents that Pang managed his investments as a "personal piggy bank" to fund a lavish lifestyle, that included spending $35 million on a fleet of jets.

In a separate civil lawsuit, the SEC alleged Pang and his companies have been engaged in the fraudulent offering of securities for at least five years, raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors mostly living in Taiwan.

Pang first made news in 1997 when his wife, 33-year-old former exotic dancer Janie Louise Pang, was shot and killed in their home.

Pang's attorney, Hugh "Randy" McDonald, was tried for her killing but the jury could not reach a verdict - they had voted 10-2 to acquit McDonald - and prosecutors chose not to seek a new trial. - AP

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