December 30, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Longtime insurance scammer Kevin Kolenda pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court yesterday afternoon to two felonies – attempt to engage in unauthorized insurance transactions and attempted first-degree theft – for selling hole-in-one and other types of event insurance without a license.
Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell sentenced Kolenda, 59, of Norwalk, Conn., to 15 months in prison plus restitution, repayment of extradition costs and fees totaling $25,534. He is currently being held in King County jail and will serve his sentence in a Washington state prison.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office charged Kolenda with seven felonies in February 2016 for selling golf tournament insurance without a license through his website, hole-in-won.com. Kolenda was extradited from Norwalk, Conn., in June 2015 by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
This is the second time Kreidler and King County have pursued criminal charges against Kolenda for defrauding Washington tournaments and golfers. In 2012, Kolenda was extradited from Connecticut to Washington state to face charges of selling insurance without a license. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to three felony charges for selling insurance without a license and theft for failure to pay golfers hole-in-one awards ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. In 2014, he was sentenced in King County Superior Court to 86 days with credit for time served and ordered to pay $15,000 restitution .
“Kolenda is a career scammer. The message I’m sending to him is that insurance fraud doesn’t pay in Washington state,” said Kreidler. “I also want tournament organizers and consumers to know they should verify insurance producers are licensed and in good standing before they do business with them.”
Insurance agents and brokers’ licensing status is posted on the Insurance Commissioner’s website.
According to the investigation, Kolenda resumed selling insurance without a license four days after his 2014 sentencing and sold insurance in Washington at least six times between February 2014 and March 2015.
Kolenda has a long history of defrauding people through hole-in-one insurance scams. He’s been in business since 1995 and has been investigated or prosecuted in 12 states.
Kolenda ignored a 2004 order from Kreidler to cease and desist from selling insurance without a license and a $125,000 fine levied in 2008 for continuing the practice.
Kreidler’s SIU investigates insurance fraud and works with the Attorney General’s Office and local prosecutors to prosecute criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the Insurance Commissioner’s website.
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