The founder of job networking site Oilpro.com was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday for allegedly hacking into a competitor’s website and stealing customer information.
David W. Kent, 40, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking and wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum prison term of five years while the wire fraud charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.
The FBI said the charges are tied to Kent’s alleged 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.”
While the FBI did not name the website Kent targeted details in the agency’s statement indicate the site was Rigzone, a website Kent co-founded in 2000 and later sold for $51 million to the DHI Group.
Between October 2013 and February 2016, Kent allegedly conspired to access information belonging to Rigzone without authorization and attempted to defraud New York-based DHI.
Kent allegedly accessed Rigzone’s member database without authorization and stole customer information, including information from over 700,000 customer accounts.
“Kent then exploited this information by inviting [the website’s] members to join Oilpro,” the FBI said.
The FBI also alleged that one of Kent’s employees at Oilpro who had previously worked for Rigzone also accessed information from Rigzone’s Google Analytics account without authorization and forwarded the information to Kent.
Kent also allegedly “attempted to defraud” DHI by “misrepresenting” how Houston-based Oilpro had increased its membership during discussions for a potential acquisition.
“In this case, a profitable business was sold for approximately $51 million. Allegedly, however, instead of relinquishing control of his former company, subject David Kent continued to illegally access data and information from his former business to help benefit a competing business he formed after the sale,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriquez said.
Kent was arrested by FBI agents in Spring, Texas, on Wednesday and was scheduled to be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo in Houston that afternoon.
Kent has not commented on the charges.