Excited golfers, charities promised big prizes that never appeared

by: Consumer Investigator Amy Clancy Updated:


A man charged with insurance fraud for not paying up when golfers clinched hole-in-one prizes is now facing even tougher penalties: A warrant has been issued for his arrest.


KIRO 7 Consumer Investigator Amy Clancy has learned he's not only ripping off golfers, he's ripping off charities, too.


A KIRO 7 News photographer was in court Wednesday, expecting Kevin Kolenda to answer to the criminal charges, but as a no-show, now he’s wanted


Andy Knapp's golf partners snapped plenty of shots after he sunk a hole-in-one in a charity golf tournament.


Along with his ace, Knapp won a $25,000 prize.


“Shortly after, my wife got pregnant with our first child and we were kind of thinking down payment on a house or college savings fund,” said Knapp.


 But when the cash prize hadn't been delivered within a few months, Knapp knew something was up.


So did Jeff Cornish of The First Tee, North Puget Sound, the non-profit charity that hosted the tournament and hired Kevin Kolenda's Hole-In-Won.com to insure the prize.


“The Website looked professional,” said Cornish.


Kolenda's company is anything but, according to a cease and desist order by the Office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Office.


Its investigation revealed Kolenda has a history of taking prize insurance premiums then not paying up.


The King County Prosecutor's Office has filed five criminal charges against Kolenda, and Wednesday, the Connecticut man was to have entered a plea in court.  


When he didn't show, a warrant was issued for his arrest.


Jeff Cornish is glad the wheels of justice are in motion but doesn't want any other charities to fall victim to Kolenda.


“The First Tee values, number one, integrity. Let’s bring this gentleman to justice,” said Cornish.  “Our desire is to put him behind bars because we feel he won’t stop doing this until he’s incarcerated.”


“As the individual who hit the hole-in-one and was expecting the prize money, yeah, it would have been fantastic, but the fact that these charities are being taken advantage of and put in an awkward situation with the people who are playing in their tournaments is just as bad,” said Knapp.


While digging into Kolenda’s criminal background, Clancy found more than a dozen tax liens and judgments against him in his home state of Connecticut as well as multiple criminal charges, including a felony conviction for larceny just last year.


But instead of jail time, he got probation. 



Charging documents against Kevin Kolenda    

Cease and desist order from Washington State Insurance Commissioner