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Gary Bowser, Member of Nintendo Hacking Group, Completes 40-Month Prison Sentence

2023

Gary Bowser, a member of the infamous Team Xecuter Switch modding group, is set to return to his home country of Canada. However, he won't be able to escape the massive $14.5 million repayment he owes to Nintendo, which will surely haunt him for the rest of his days.

Bowser, a figure seemingly plucked from the pages of nominative determinism, has often been labeled a "hacker," but his main role within Team Xecuter was more of a sales and promotion guy. The group, known as TX, specialized in developing and selling jailbreaking devices, with a history that can be traced back to the original Xbox. While these devices allowed for legitimate purposes like homebrew and Linux, they also made it a breeze to load pirated ROMs onto gaming systems. Unlike other groups, Team Xecuter was open about the piracy aspect of their endeavors and even profited from it.

In October 2020, Bowser's arrest, along with other TX members, sent shockwaves through the console hacking community. The Department of Justice orchestrated the arrest and extradition of Gary "GaryOPA" Bowser in the Dominican Republic, Max "MaxiMiLiEN" Louarn in France (later found in Tanzania but not yet extradited), and pursued Yuanning "100+1" Chen in Shenzen, China. It was the brazen nature of their commercial piracy that seemingly pushed Nintendo and the DOJ into action.

Bowser, after pleading guilty to criminal charges, received a sentence of 40 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $4.5 million in February 2022. Prior to that, he had already agreed to pay Nintendo $10 million in a separate civil suit. Bowser admitted in his guilty plea that despite the "tens of millions of dollars" in sales, he personally only made an estimated $320,000 over seven years. He also acknowledged that Team Xecuter's devices were primarily intended for pirated ROM play. Originally, the DOJ sought a 60-month sentence, relying on Nintendo's claims of market losses due to piracy.

After spending 16 months in pretrial custody and factoring in good behavior, Bowser has been moved from federal prison to the Northwest Detention Center in Washington, awaiting his transfer to Canada. The news of his impending release was first revealed by Bowser himself during an appearance on the NickMoses 05 Gaming Podcast, as reported by TorrentFreak.

During his time behind bars, Nintendo has been garnishing Bowser's federal wages through the DOJ. He disclosed to Nick Moses that he has paid $175 since his detention. Bowser further explained that Nintendo will claim 25 to 30 percent of his gross monthly income, and he has a grace period of up to six months before he must start making payments.

Before his involvement in Team Xecuter, Bowser worked as an accountant and had his own repair businesses and consulting work. In his podcast discussion with Moses, he brainstormed potential future job prospects, including vacation rental development. However, given his age, early 50s, and the fact that he is now a convicted felon, it seems highly unlikely that Bowser will amass over $18.1 million CAD necessary to fulfill his US settlements, especially when considering the median salary in Toronto, where he is expected to reside with family, was $85,500 CAD in 2020.

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