December 14, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Alleged hole-in-one scammer extradited to Washington
A Connecticut man who specializes in insuring hole-in-one prizes has been extradited to Washington state to face charges that he has failed to pay up following several tournaments.
Kevin Kolenda, of Norwalk, Conn., has been charged in King County Superior Court with five felony counts of selling insurance without a license.
The 55-year-old Kolenda is accused of failing to pass out prize money when Washington state golfers hit a hole-in-one during tournaments. In some cases, charities or tournament hosts had to come up with the cash, according to a Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s investigation.
Charging documents also say Kolenda ignored a cease-and-desist order and a $125,000 insurance commission fine in 2004.
After Kolenda was charged in August, he failed to appear in King County Superior Court for his Sept. 5 arraignment. He was arrested on a Washington bench warrant three weeks later by police in Norwalk. His transfer to Washington was approved last month by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Kolenda was flown under guard Thursday from Connecticut to Washington. He has been booked into the King County Jail and is expected to be arraigned Monday in King County Superior Court.
“It’s rare that we have to go to these extremes to rein in a scammer,” Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a news release. “But Mr. Kolenda’s been thumbing his nose at regulators for years. Arresting him seems to be the only way to get his attention.”
In 2003, Kolenda illegally sold insurance for a tournament at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, but refused to immediately pay when a golfer got a hole-in-one and tried to claim the $10,000 prize, charging documents say.
The following year, he refused to make good on a $50,000 prize won during a tournament at the Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, Wash., court documents allege.
Two years ago, Kolenda sold coverage for a $25,000 hole-in-one prize at a golf tournament on June 14 in Snohomish and, once again, declined to pay despite numerous notarized forms attesting to the hole-in-one, according to the documents.
According to court documents and the insurance commissioner’s office, Kolenda is accused of running his scam in other states, including Montana, Ohio, Georgia, California, New York, Hawaii, Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut and North Carolina.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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