A businessman accused of insuring golf tournament hole-in-one prizes then failing to pay plead guilty in a Washington court to two counts of selling insurance without a license and one count of first-degree theft.
Kevin Kolenda, 55, of Norwalk, Conn., entered his plea in King County Superior Court in Seattle on Friday morning. In addition to the three felonies, Kolenda was ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution.
In 1995 Kolenda started a business called Golf Marketing, working out of a home his parents owned in Norwalk. Since then, the business’ name has changed several times, including: Golf Marketing Worldwide LLC, Golf Marketing Inc., Hole-in-Won.com, and currently Hole-in-Won.com Worldwide. The company also has a regional office in Rye, N.Y.
Kolenda repeatedly failed to pay winning golfers in Washington, according to the charges.
Those payment failures include: In 2004, Kolenda sold insurance for a Vancouver tournament, where a golfer got a hole in one. Kolenda did not 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, his golf partners signed notarized forms attesting to the hole in one, but prize remains unpaid, despite numerous calls and emails from the partners and tournament officials, according to the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s office.
In some cases, charities had to come up with the prize money that Kolenda refused to pay. In others, the prize winners agreed to forgo a prize.
Similar allegations have been made against Kolenda and his business in numerous other states, including Montana, Ohio, Georgia, California, New York, Hawaii, Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut and North Carolina.
Kolenda will be sentenced in four months.
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