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Press Release

Indictment Charges Connecticut Operator of Prize Insurance Business with Fraud Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury in Bridgeport returned a six-count indictment yesterday charging KEVIN KOLENDA, 66, of Norwalk, with fraud offenses related to his operation of a prize insurance business.

Kolenda was arrested this morning.  He appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Dave Vatti in Bridgeport, pleaded not guilty, and was released on a $50,000 bond.

As alleged in the indictment, Kolenda owns and operates Hole-In-Won LLC (“Hole In Won”), which has provided prize insurance to customers who offered promotions or prizes at events, including golf tournaments and fishing contests.  Hole In Won also used a promotional website,, to claim it to be “the most successful prize insurance company in the world” that had “paid out 1000’s of awards” to winners throughout the world.

The indictment alleges that Kolenda has defrauded dozens of organizations and individuals out of nearly $1 million, including approximately $850,000 in insurance premiums paid under false pretenses and more than $100,000 in prize costs that Hole In Won failed to pay.  As part of the scheme, victims, often charitable or civic organizations, obtained insurance from Kolenda and Hole In Won for one or more prizes at an event.  For example, the host of a golf tournament might include a lucrative prize, such as a new car, for any player who hits a hole in one on a specific hole.  The victim would complete an insurance contract and pay the insurance premium to Kolenda and Hole In Won, and Kolenda and Hole In Won would promise to pay out the insurance claim for the cost of the insured prize if there was a winner at the event.  If no one won the insured prize at the event, Kolenda and Hole In Won would keep the premium.

The indictment further alleges that if someone won the insured prize, Kolenda often used various fraudulent techniques to avoid payment of the claim.  For example, Kolenda made excuses to victims as to why Hole In Won did not have to pay out the cost of the claim; referred victims to the Hole In Won “claims department,” at an office in Washington, D.C., which did not exist; and threatened victims with bogus legal action and reputational harm if they continued to seek payment of the claim.  Ultimately, Kolenda would often stop responding to correspondence from victims and refused to pay out the cost of the insured prize.  The victim host or organization, or its partners, often paid for the cost of the insured prize themselves in order to avoid reputational harm and potential legal action.

The indictment charges Kolenda with six counts of wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count.

U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Weingarten.

Individuals and organizations who believe that they may be victims of this alleged scheme are encouraged to contact the FBI’s New Haven Division at 203-777-6311.

Updated April 5, 2024

Financial Fraud