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Press Release

Oilpro.Com Founder Sentenced To Prison For Hacking Into Competitor’s Computer System

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Defendant Stole Resume Information From Over 700,000 Customer Accounts Stored on a Competitor’s Database and Attempted to Sell to the Same Company Whose Database He Had Hacked

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that DAVID W. KENT, the founder of professional networking website (“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.


Between 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 marketing methods.                


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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.

Updated October 6, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-325