David Kent, Oilpro.Com Founder Sentenced For
October 10, 2017
Defendant Stole Resume Information From Over 700,000 Customer
Accounts Stored on a Competitor’s Database and Attempted to Sell
Oilpro.com to the Same Company Whose Database He Had Hacked
W. KENT, the founder of professional networking website
Oilpro.com (“Oilpro”), was sentenced today in Manhattan federal
court to one year and one day in prison for intentionally
accessing a protected computer without authorization. The charge
stemmed from KENT’s role in repeatedly hacking into a
competitor’s database to steal customer information and
attempting to sell Oilpro to the same company whose database
KENT had hacked. Today’s sentence was imposed by U.S. District
Judge Denise L. Cote.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “David Kent
admitted to hacking into a competitor’s computer network and
stealing client data to boost the value of Oilpro, a company he
founded. Kent then attempted to sell Oilpro – a company he grew
using the stolen information -- to the very company he had
hacked. For his criminal attempts to gain an unfair business
edge, Kent has now been sentenced to prison.”
In sentencing DAVID W. KENT, Judge Cote said: “This was a
betrayal of trust, a breach of loyalty, and a level of deceit
and dishonesty that was very sad and disappointing.”
According to the documents filed in this case and statements
made in court proceedings:
In or about March 2000, KENT founded a website (“Website-1”)
that provides, among other things, networking services to
professionals working in the oil and gas industry. Website-1
allows its members to create profiles, which includes personal
and professional information. As part of their profiles, members
can also upload their resumes. The profiles are contained in a
database maintained by Website-1 (the “Members Database”).
Members are assigned login credentials (i.e., usernames and
passwords) when they create their profiles. Members use these
login credentials to access their profiles.
In or around August 2010, KENT sold Website-1 for approximately
$51 million to a publicly traded company headquartered in New
York, New York (“Company-1”). KENT entered into an employment
agreement with Company-1 and agreed to continue to serve as the
President of Website-1 after the acquisition. However, KENT left
Website-1 in September 2011 and launched Oilpro in October 2013.
Like Website-1, Oilpro provides networking services to
professionals working in the oil and gas industry. Oilpro is
headquartered in Houston, Texas.
October 2013 and February 2016, KENT conspired to access
information belonging to Website-1 without authorization and to
defraud Company-1. KENT accessed the Website-1 Members Database
without authorization and stole customer information, including
information from over 700,000 customer accounts. KENT then
exploited this information by inviting Website-1’s members to
join Oilpro. Similarly, one of Kent’s employees at Oilpro who
previously worked for Website-1 (“CC-1”) accessed information in
Website-1’s Google Analytics account without authorization and
forwarded the information to KENT. In the meantime, KENT
attempted to defraud Company-1 by misrepresenting during
discussions about a potential acquisition of Oilpro by Company-1
that Oilpro had increased its membership through standard
* * *
In addition to the prison term, KENT, 41, of Spring, Texas, was
sentenced to three years of supervised release.
Mr. Kim praised and thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation
for their outstanding work. Mr. Kim also thanked the Office of
International Affairs and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber
Crime Unit (NCCU).
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.
Assistant United States Attorneys Sidhardha Kamaraju and Andrew
K. Chan are in charge of the prosecution.