NEW YORK Dec 19 The founder of an oil and gas
networking website accused of hacking into a rival site he had
created and sold to DHI Group Inc pleaded guilty to a
computer fraud charge on Monday, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors in March charged David Kent, 41, with
having stolen data on more than 500,000 user resumes from
Rigzone.com, which he sold for $51 million in 2010, to boost the
membership of his new site Oilpro.com.
Prosecutors at the time said that Kent then tried to sell
Oilpro, created in 2013, to DHI by misrepresenting that the new
website increased its membership to 500,000 through standard
In Manhattan federal court on Monday, Kent pleaded guilty to
one count of fraud and related activity in connection with
computers. As part of a plea deal, he agreed not to appeal any
sentence of 4-3/4 years or less.
A lawyer for Kent did not immediately respond to a request
for comment. Kent, a resident of Spring, Texas, is scheduled to
be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote on March 17.
Rigzone was launched by Kent in 2000 and allows members to
create profiles and upload resumes. When the website was sold to
New York-based DHI in 2010, its member database was worth $6
million, according to court papers.
From the start, Kent aimed to build a website that DHI would
be interested in acquiring, a criminal complaint said. By
January 2016, the database of his new Houston-based company had
grown to 500,000 members, the complaint said.
Rigzone's database was hacked twice in 2014 and 2015, the
complaint said, resulting in members being solicited to join
Oilpro, the complaint said.
DHI has said that it cooperated with authorities in the
investigation. Under his plea agreement, Kent has agreed to pay
the company $3.29 million in restitution.
The case is U.S. v. Kent, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 16-cr-385.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; editing by Grant