Certified ethical hacker and IT manager steals $575,000 in cryptocurrency from elderly person

Ethical hacker silhouette walking through a keyhole, symbolising physical security and penetration testing
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A certified ethical hacker and practising IT manager has been charged with several offences after stealing a large sum of cryptocurrency from an elderly person.

Aaron Daniel Motta allegedly stole more than $575,000 (£411,900) from an elderly victim by stealing a Trezor hardware wallet used to store cryptocurrency offline. The type of cryptocurrency was not disclosed in the police reports.

Clearwater Police in Florida said Motta transferred the sum into multiple wallets he owned after the victim hired Motta to install a security system in their home.

Motta faces felony charges of grand theft and offences against computer users, according to an arrest affidavit, Tampa Bay Times reported.

According to a LinkedIn profile in Motta’s name, the accused is a specialist in cyber security, penetration testing, offensive security, and IT.

The 27-year-old is currently self-employed, an owner at Motta Management & Mitigation Services, and recently left two positions - security technician and network technician - at different companies. Motta is also an active participant in Apple’s bug bounty program.

According to the profile, Motta also holds a degree in cyber/electronic operations and warfare from St. Petersburg College and is a Certified Ethical Hacker through Cisco Networking Academy - a course that is not currently available through Cisco’s learning platform.


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Motta claims to hold other cyber security and networking certifications too. He achieved three CompTIA certifications in 2019: Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), Network+, and A+. His profile also shows he achieved the Cisco Certified Network Associate Cyber Ops (CCNA) certification in 2018.

Motta was taken to Pinellas County Jail on Friday 8 April and was released in the early hours of Saturday morning after paying a $60,000 bail, reports suggested.

The victim is currently unnamed and many details have yet to be released, but police said they are aged 65 years or older.

Connor Jones

Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.