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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 28 October 2021

Holiday home fraudster Kevin O'Kane sentenced to 4-and-a-half years

O’Kane had swindled money from investors for properties in Turkey which he did not own.

The Golden Beach villas in Turkey which O'Kane did not
The Golden Beach villas in Turkey which O'Kane did not "own a blade of".
Image: TurkishGoldenSands.co.uk

A NORTHERN IRELAND man found guilty for his involvement in an international property scam has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Kevin O’Kane was sentenced after being convicted of more than 151 fraud-related charges. He was found guilty for his part in a property development scam which saw his victims invest money into holiday homes that they would never own.

The sentence was welcomed by PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Kim McCauley, who said it reflected the “magnitude of the loss suffered by so many innocent people taken in by O’Kane”.

It also emphasises the seriousness of fraud offences and reinforces the message that they are not victimless crimes.”

The 52-year-old had used his position as a “local man” to sell land and property at a holiday resort in Turkey. His customers handed over money after he told them he was either the legitimate landowner, the developer and/or the builder.

The Belfast Crown Court found that O’Kane gained the investors’ confidence by lying to them. When money was forwarded to Turkey, O’Kane had no control over it.

“O’Kane’s actions have resulted in considerable hardship to a lot of families in a particularly difficult financial climate,” explained McCauley.

The majority of the victims of the scam have invested savings or remortgaged their existing properties. Evidence was heard from one victim who has to pay about £500 per month for the next 16 years for a property he does not – and will never – own.

McCauley took the opportunity of O’Kane’s court appearance to advise the public to be cautious when entering financial arrangements.

“If something seems too good to be true, it usually is,” she said.

The investigation into the O’Kane fraud lasted about five years and the PSNI thanked those affected for their patience in waiting for justice to be carried out.

Today’s sentence sends a clear message that although it may take time and result in a complex case, fraudsters will be caught and get taken to court, said the PSNI.

BBC reports that 59 investors were duped into spending about £4 million on the Golden Beaches villas in Turkey. O’Kane maintains that he, himself, was a victim after being taken in by a Turkish developer but these claims were dismissed by the presiding judge. .

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