Man accused of ripping off Washington charities pleads guilty

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on October 4, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 7 at 5:19 PM

Kevin Kolenda used to say he insured hole-in-one prizes, but because he didn’t pay golfers in Washington state, we can all call him a felon.

“This is a big win for the citizens of our states,” said Mark Couey, investigator with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.  “It essentially means he’s not going to be in business committing various fraudulent schemes.”

In 2010, Kolenda’s business insured a charity tournament in Everett.  Andy Knapp of Bellevue made the improbable shot but never received the $25,000 prize from Kolenda.

“My wife and I had our first baby. That money would go a long way for setting up things for our son,” explained Knapp.

Jeff Cornish runs the First Tee of North Puget Sound. He purchased the policy for that tournament where Knapp made his shot.

“We persevered that the truth would come out, so it was a relief when you called and let me know,” said a relieved Cornish.

Kolenda also burned another Washington charity in 2009.  Similar accusations have followed the Connecticut man for years.  In Montana I found Troy Peissig.  He made a hole-in-one at a Kolenda insured event and he’s still waiting for his $18,000 prize.

“They straight falsified witness statements.  They changed what people said in phone interviews,” said Peissig.

In the end Kolenda pleaded guilty to three felonies: two counts of selling insurance without a license and one count of first degree theft.  He will pay $35,000 in restitution.  Andy will get his $25,000.  The rest will go to another Washington victim.  If Kolenda fails to pay up he could serve eight months in prison.
 

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