Northern Ireland

Deadline for Turkey holiday homes fraudster Kevin O'Kane

Kevin O'Kane
Image caption Kevin O'Kane was sentenced to four and a half years last week

A convicted property fraudster has two weeks to decide if he will contest civil proceedings brought by investors duped into paying out nearly £4m.

Kevin O'Kane must confirm whether he is to continue on or abandon any defence in the action brought by nearly 60 victims of a Turkish holiday home scam.

Last week the 52-year-old, from Ballynease Road, Portglenone, Co Antrim was jailed for four and a half years.

He was convicted of 151 offences of obtaining money or property by fraud.

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

One of O'Kane's victims, who handed over £75,000, has been left with a monthly bank bill of £600 for the next 17 years.

Sentenced handed out

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 on Tuesday in an attempt to resolve the action.

Mr Justice Deeny asked O'Kane's barrister: "Your client has been convicted and sentenced. Have you taken instructions on whether he is continuing to contest this?"

John O'Hare replied that the focus had been on the criminal case and requested an adjournment to clarify his position.

The businessman can either agree to judgment being entered against him or else prolong proceedings until a ruling is made.

Disputes over the amount of money owed may stretch the case out further.

A solicitor for some of the plaintiffs said: "We would hope at this stage Mr O'Kane would see fit to consent. We would hope we wouldn't have to go to further time and expense."

Mr Justice Deeny agreed to give the defendant two weeks to decide his position.

The judge also pointed out: "The general principle is the man has been convicted beyond reasonable doubt.

"It would seem strongly to indicate the success of this (action), but there is then the issue of what judgment you are getting.

"Are they a series of minor judgments to be granted on the same day?"

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