The Northern Ireland businessman at the centre of an alleged multi-million pound property scam in Turkey is to appear in court in Belfast this month charged with 171 offences in what is believed to be one of Northern Ireland’s biggest ever fraud cases.
Kevin O’Kane (51), who is originally from Bellaghy, is alleged to have duped around 100 people into buying luxury holiday homes at the Golden Beach resort on Turkey’s Aegean coast.
Initially it was estimated that around 80 people from Northern Ireland had paid over £2.5 million to buy villas in the new development near Bodrum, investing £75,000 each for three bedroom properties.
But the charges which are being preferred against O’Kane, who now lives in Portglenone, reveal that the actual figure involved is £4.2 million.
The majority of the charges which date from 2005 to 2007 accuse O’Kane of obtaining money and property by deception.
It's alleged that he falsely represented himself as the landowner, builder and developer of the Golden Beach Villas and that he had authority to sell them.
The bulk of the charges have been brought under the Northern Ireland Theft Act but several of them are under the Proceeds of Crime Act relating to the removal of money from the province.
Dozens of investors complained to police after discovering that title deeds to their dream homes were fake. Some of the buyers who had sunk their life savings into the purchases were sold the same property.
It will be O’Kane’s first appearance in court and he will be denying the charges, according to his lawyer Hugh Leslie from the John J Rice and Company solicitors.
It’s anticipated that at O’Kane’s court hearing on August 27, the PPS will apply to have him returned for trial by a jury.