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No Foul Play in Death of Indicted California Financier

Authorities have ruled out foul play in the death of a financier accused of using millions of dollars from international investors to fund a lavish lifestyle complete with vacations and personal jets.

Danny Pang
Danny Pang

An autopsy conducted Sunday on 42-year-old Danny Pang, of Newport Beach, did not immediately find a cause of death, Orange County Deputy Coroner Mitchell Segal said.

The coroner's office said it would take two to three months before toxicology tests could be completed, Segal said.

Pang, a Taiwanese immigrant, died Saturday at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach a day after police and paramedics were called to his gated-community home. He pleaded not guilty in July to federal charges of evading currency reporting laws.

The case had been set to go to trial next week, but was delayed until next August.

The 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 $4 billion firm, Private Equity Management Group Inc., based in Irvine, Calif.

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.

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 lifestyle that included spending $35 million on a fleet of jets, $1 million on a cruise for employees and $1.5 million on a China vacation for his staff.

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.

In a statement released after his death, Pang's family said he "would have been vindicated if he had been given that opportunity."

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 the death but the jury could not reach a verdict and prosecutors chose not to seek a new trial.

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