October 4, 2013
OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Connecticut businessman who insures golf tournament hole-in-one prizes but has a history of failing to pay has pleaded guilty in King County to two counts of selling insurance without a license and one count of first-degree theft.
Kevin Kolenda, 55, of Norwalk, Conn., appeared in King County Superior Court in Seattle this morning. In addition to the three felonies, Kolenda was ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution.
“I’m very grateful to everyone who’s worked to bring Mr. Kolenda here to Washington to face justice,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “He has a long history of selling illegal insurance and refusing to pay prize winners.”
Kolenda in 1995 started a business called Golf Marketing, working out of a home his parents owned in Norwalk. Since then, the business’ name has changed several times, including: Golf Marketing Worldwide LLC, Golf Marketing Inc., Hole-in-Won.com, and currently Hole-in-Won.com Worldwide. The company also has a regional office in Rye, N.Y.
Kolenda repeatedly failed to pay winning golfers in Washington. Among them:
- In 2004, Kolenda sold insurance for a Vancouver tournament. Again, a golfer got a hole in one. Kolenda refused to pay the $50,000 prize.
- In 2010, Kolenda sold coverage to pay $25,000 for a hole in one during a golf tournament in Snohomish. A player got a hole in one. His golf partners signed notarized forms attesting to the hole in one. The prize remains unpaid, despite numerous calls and emails from the partners and tournament officials.
In some cases, charities had to come up with the prize money that Kolenda refused to pay. In others, the prize winners agreed to forgo a prize.
Similar allegations have been made against Mr. Kolenda and/or his business in numerous other states, including Montana, Ohio, Georgia, California, New York, Hawaii, Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut and North Carolina.
“Let this be a lesson to others intending to commit insurance fraud,” said Kreidler. “We will come after you and justice will be served.”
Kolenda will be sentenced in four months.