Turkish investor awarded $1.8M over alleged real estate fraud scheme

Serhan Unsal claims he was overcharged on five properties in Broward and Palm Beach counties

The Turkish flag (Credit: PxHere)
The Turkish flag (Credit: PxHere)

A Turkish investor was awarded more than $1.81 million after he alleged in a civil suit that he was defrauded on fives real estate investments in Broward County.

Serhan Unsal, who owns a Turkish textile factory, filed a civil theft suit against defendants Taner Gokalp and Ertugrul Meric, according to the Daily Business Review. He claimed that he was defrauded out of nearly $300,000 from two real estate investments, and $167,000 on three properties he bought through Gokalp and Meric in 2013.

Unsal alleged Gokalp and Meric added thousands of dollars to the asking prices of multifamilly and warehouse properties in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Coral Springs to overcharge the Turkish investor – earnings they allegedly split. Unsal found out about the alleged scheme after performing an audit of his real estate holdings, according to the complaint. He also alleges that he discovered the properties he purchased were not under his name, but instead belonging to companies linked to Gokalp and Meric.

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Unsal’s attorney, Coral Gables-based litigator Brian Barakat, said that Meric touted previous investments in South Florida to convince the investor to do business with him, the Daily Business Review reported.

Unsal is part of a wave of increased Turkish investment in South Florida. Earlier this year, the Istanbul-based Okan Group launched Okan Tower, a $300 million mixed-use tower in Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District, with a launch event in Turkey. [DBR]– Keith Larsen