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.”
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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.