Turkey property fraudster abandons defence to civil actions

KEVIN O’Kane, the convicted international property fraudster from Portglenone, has abandoned his defence to civil actions brought by investors he scammed into paying out nearly £4m.

O’Kane has agreed to judgements against him in a series of lawsuits which had been brought by victims of a Turkish holiday home scam.

Lawyers for nearly 60 plaintiffs, of which a number are believed to be from the Ballymena area, will now seek to enforce the outcome in an attempt to claw back any money they can.

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One option being explored is to pursue bankruptcy proceedings against O’Kane. Earlier this year the 52-year-old, from Ballynease Road, was jailed for four and a half years for running the bogus operation.

The one-time oil and coal merchant, was convicted of more than 150 offences of obtaining money or property by deception and fraud by false representation.

He portrayed himself as the landowner, builder and developer of the Golden Beach villas development when, in reality, he owned nothing of the scheme.

A legal bid by investors seeking their money back was put on hold until the criminal case was completed.

With the prison term now imposed, they returned to the High Court in an attempt to resolve the action.

O’Kane was given two weeks to decide if he intended to contest the actions.

It was confirmed to Mr Justice Deeny on Tuesday that he consented to judgement being made against him.

As well as the sums being claimed by plaintiffs, the judgement fixed the interest rate at 5%.

It remains to be seen what cash is available for those who invested in the scam.