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August 23, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Charges: Man cheated Seattle-area golfers out of prize money

Lucky golfers are bad luck for Kevin Kolenda, according to criminal charges filed in King County Superior Court.

Kolenda, 54, a Connecticut businessman who sold insurance for prizes offered at golf tournaments for hitting a hole-in-one, has been charged this week with five felony counts of transacting insurance without a license, according to a news release from the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Kolenda ignored a previous cease-and-desist order and a $125,000 fine from state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, the news release said.

“We’ve been warning the public about Mr. Kolenda’s scam for years,” said Kreidler. “He has a long history of selling illegal insurance, refusing to pay prize winners, and thumbing his nose at regulators.”

In some cases, charities have had to come up with the prize money. In others, the prize winners agreed to forego the prize.

According to the news release:

— Kolenda, through his business Golf Marketing, illegally sold insurance for a 2003 tournament in Bremerton. But when a golfer hit a hole-in-one and tried to claim the $10,000 prize, Kolenda wouldn’t pay.

— In 2004, Kolenda sold insurance for a Vancouver, Wash. tournament. Again, a golfer hit a hole-in-one and Kolenda didn’t 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. The prize remains unpaid.

Comments | More in Sports, The Blotter | Topics: King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, transacting insurance without a license

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