The founder of an oil and gas networking website who pleaded guilty to hacking a rival site he had created and sold to DHI Group Inc was sentenced to one year and one day in prison on Friday. David Kent, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan.
That’s substantially less than Kent could have faced had he been convicted as initially charged. Following his arrest in April last year, in addition to the computer hacking charge, he faced a wire fraud charge, which could have resulted in as much as 20 years in prison.
Kent has been accused of hacking into Rigzone’s network and stealing data to boost the value of Oilpro, which he founded after selling Rigzone in August 2010 to DHI for approximately $51 million.
In March 2000, Kent founded Rigzone, which provides networking services to oil and gas industry professionals. Rigzone members can create profiles with personal and professional information and upload their resumes into a database on the website.
After selling Rigzone to DHI, he continued to serve as president before departing Rigzone in September 2011. In October 2013, Kent launched Oilpro.com, which also provides networking services to oil and gas professionals.
From October 2013 to February 2016, Kent conspired to access information from Rigzone, then use that information to invite Rigzone members to join Oilpro. One of Kent’s employees at Oilpro, who formerly worked for Rigzone, accessed information from Rigzone’s Google Analytics account without permission and forwarded that information to Kent. Meanwhile, Kent tried to sell Oilpro to DHI, telling DHI that Oilpro had grown its membership through standard marketing methods.
The case serves as a stern reminder to others that unauthorized access to a computer is a federal crime with severe penalties; even just a quick look at the data on the computer can lead to a prison sentence.
Popular oil and gas networking website Oilpro.com has been permanently shut down after its founder pleaded guilty to stealing data from rival site Rigzone.