Gary W. Bowser, aka GaryOPA (52) was arrested for his role in creating/selling illegal devices and software that allowed users to play pirated copies of the mainstream, original gaming titles on hacked consoles.
A member of Team Xecutre, a notorious group of console hackers, has been sentenced to forty months in prison by a US District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The convict, Gary Bowser was sentenced for his involvement in promoting and selling devices in the SX OS series of piracy-enabling devices for Nintendo Switch. Bowser was indicted in Seattle in Aug 2020 with fellow team members Max “MAXiMiLiEN” Louarn and Yuanning Chen.
About Team Xecuter
Team Xecuter is a group of hackers operating for over a decade. The gang is mainly involved in developing devices and software to hack Nintendo consoles like 3DS and the Switch. Team Xecuter specialized in jailbreaking consoles, including Nintendo handhelds, PSX, and PS Vita.
Who’s Gary Bowser?
Gary Bowser, aka GaryOPA, is a Canadian national arrested for his role in creating/selling illegal devices and software that allowed users to play pirated copies of the mainstream, original gaming titles on hacked consoles.
The consoles compatible with the devices created by Bowser while being a part of Team Xecuter include the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, the Nintendo 3DS, and the Sony PlayStation Classic.
As reported by Hackread.com, Bowser was arrested in the Dominican Republic in Sept 2020.
Final Sentencing Details
The 52-year-old Bowser was charged with eleven felony counts. These include conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, trafficking in circumvention devices, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and traffic in circumvention devices, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Bowser initially denied all the accusations but later pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and traffic in circumvention devices and one count of trafficking in circumvention devices in October 2021.
Bowser also agreed to pay restitution of around $4.5 million to Nintendo. In his plea agreement, the Canadian hacker stated that he “knowingly and willfully” took part in the piracy scheme from Team Xecuter, initiated in June 2013 and continuing until the time of his arrest.
A US District Court sentenced Bowser on Thursday to forty months in prison. The final sentence comes after the accused filed a guilty plea in November 2021. The prosecutors sought a prison sentence of 60 months, while the defense sought 19 months.
It is worth noting that Bowser had already served sixteen months in detention after his arrest in 2020. As per US Attorney Nick Brown, the scheme caused over $65 million in losses to video game firms.
This piracy scheme is estimated to have caused more than $65m in losses to video game companies. But the damage goes beyond these businesses, harming video game developers and the small, creative studios whose products and hard work is essentially stolen when games are pirated,” Brown stated.
Federal prosecutors stated that they sought a significant sentence to warn all hackers that the consequences for “participating in a sustained effort to undermine the gaming industry” could be drastic.
Hackread reported in 2020 that the US Justice Department (DoJ) had confirmed arresting three members of the Team Xecuter piracy group, including Max Louarn, Yuanning Chen, and Gary Bowser. The DoJ stated that the members of the infamous group were charged with 11 felony counts.
It was noted that the group kept changing their hacking and homebrewing consoles devices/software names from 2013 to 2020 and used brands such as Gateway 3DS, Stargate, the SX line, and the TrueBlue Mini and used Maxconsole.com and Axiogame.com websites to sell their products.
Nintendo is pleased with the “send-a-message” idea. The gaming giant released a statement after Bowser’s sentencing that read:
Nintendo appreciates the hard work and tireless efforts of federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to curb illegal activities on a global scale that cause serious harm to Nintendo and the video game industry. In particular, Nintendo would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the Department of Homeland Security, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, the US Department of Justice’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs for their significant contribution and assistance.”