In February 2022 Gary Bowser, a member of the hacking operation Team Xecuter—a long-time target of Nintendo’s lawyers—was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his part in helping run a business that reportedly earned him over $300,000.
Thanks to a combination of time already served and good behaviour while in prison, however, Bowser is about to be released and sent home to Canada. On the eve of his departure—he’s currently awaiting transport to Toronto with a new passport—Bowser sat down for an interview with NickMoses 05 (thanks TorrentFreak) to discuss the events surrounding his imprisonment and impending freedom.
As I said at the time of his sentencing, while Bowser was guilty of a crime, and confessed this in front of a court of law, I still think it’s interesting—and important—to examine the details of his sentencing, which show the extent to which companies like Nintendo pursue these cases through the American legal system, and the severity of the punishments handed out.
While Bowser was convicted, served time in prison and is about to be released, his punishment isn’t over. In fact, he’ll be paying for his crimes for the rest of his life, because the damages he was ordered to pay Nintendo at the time of his sentencing —a total of $10 million (Bowser says an additional $4.5 million won’t have to be paid back since he’ll be in Canada, not the US)—are so astronomical that he’ll likely never be able to make good on them.
Bowser says Nintendo can take 25-30% of his “monthly gross income” for the rest of his working life. They began the process while he was still in prison; like many American inmates, Bowser was able to work jobs (for what’s essentially spare change) while behind bars, and over the course of his time at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in Washington he was able to pay back $25 a month. Adding up to a total of…$175.
Bowser was one of two men arrested in connection with Team Xecuter. While commonly referred to as a “hacker” in media reports he actually confessed to being the company’s “salesman”, and reportedly made $320,000 over seven years of work. The other, French citizen Max Louarn, allegedly the leader of the operation (a role he denies), has managed so far to avoid deportation to the US to face charges, though it’s believed he helped the company make millions over the course of its operation.