October 4, 2013 at 3:59 PM
Hole-in-one insurer pleads guilty in golf tournament scams
A 56-year-old Connecticut businessman who insures golf tournament hole-in-one prizes, but has a history of failing to pay, pleaded guilty Friday in King County Superior Court to one count of first-degree theft and two counts of selling insurance without a license.
According to the plea deal, King County prosecutors will recommend Kevin Kolenda, of Norwalk, Conn., be sentenced to three months in jail with credit for time he’s already served so long as he pays $15,000 in restitution by his Nov. 22 sentencing date. If he fails to pay the $15,000 before sentencing, prosecutors will recommend he be sentenced to eight months in jail.
After sentencing, Kolenda is to pay another $20,000 in restitution, according to the deal.
The money will go to two men: $10,000 will be paid to Portland man who organized a golf tournament in Vancouver, Wash., in 2004. He was forced to pay a $10,000 deductible to another insurance carrier when Kolenda, who had sold the man hole-in-one insurance, refused to pay a $50,000 prize to a golfer who scored an ace.
A second man, who scored a hole-in-one during a 2010 golf tournament in Snohomish County, will receive the remaining $25,000 — the amount of prize money Kolenda reneged on paying after selling insurance to tournament organizers.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) first issued a cease and desist order against Kolenda in 2004, barring him from “illegal solicitation and transaction of unauthorized insurance,” court records show. Investigators from the office brought the criminal case to prosecutors.
Kolenda was arrested in Connecticut in September 2012 on the King County charges, and was extradited to Washington that December. He spent about a week in the King County Jail before posting a $50,000 bond, jail records show.
In 2009, Connecticut officials fined Kolenda $5.9 million for illegally offering insurance without a license.
He faces similar allegations in Montana, Ohio, Georgia, California, New York, Hawaii, Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida,and North Carolina, according to a news release from the OIC.
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