Belfast Telegraph

Villa 'scam' cost man £75,000, court told

A man who claims to be the victim of an alleged international property scam took to the stand yesterday to face the developer accused of conning him.

John Moore jnr said he was "displeased, to say the least" when he discovered Kevin Eugene O'Kane (52) "didn't own a blade of grass in Turkey and we didn't own a house".

Giving evidence at the Belfast Crown Court trial of Mr O'Kane (52), the first of his seven alleged victims told the jury how Mr O'Kane claimed to be selling holiday villas in the sunshine resort of Gumbet in Turkey for £75,000.

Mr O'Kane, of Ballyneese Road in Portglenone, denies 27 charges of obtaining property and money transfers by deception and one of using "a false instrument" on various dates between August 8, 2005 and 13 April 13, 2007.

The charges cover seven alleged victims who, the Crown alleges, were duped into paying over £500,000 in total to Mr O'Kane for the purchase of properties in Gumbet.

They say the property scheme was "a scam and a trick".

Yesterday Mr Moore jnr told the jury that he, his wife and her parents all clubbed together to buy Number 9 Golden Beach Villas, while his parents arranged to buy Number 8 after Mr O'Kane came to his family home and told them "he was the landowner and that he was selling the houses".

He said they initially put down a "refundable deposit" of £25,000 in June 2006. After visiting Turkey and seeing the property he was supposedly buying, Mr Moore paid across the rest of the money.

Asked if he received receipts for the payments, Mr Moore said he did get one for the deposit but received nothing after the transfer of £50,000 to Mr O'Kane's bank account in July 2006.

The trial continues.

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