The US government recommended to a federal judge on Thursday that Nintendo hacker and modder Gary Bowser receive five years in prison after he committed two counts of selling and creating mod chips. may allow people to play pirated games on their Nintendo Switch.
As discovered by Eurogamer, New Court documents filed yesterday showed that the prosecution detailed the recommended prison sentence, arguing that Bowser had been the “public face” of Team Xecuter, which the group described as a “criminal enterprise” “for nearly a decade … flaunts vulnerabilities found in video game consoles and undermines the integrity of those systems and the experience of video game users. Court documents estimate that the corporation’s activities and products have resulted in damages in excess of $65 million to video game companies like Nintendo.
In court documents, US federal attorneys said the five-year sentence was appropriate to the “nature and circumstances of the offense” and wanted the sentence to “reflect the severity” of Bowser’s crimes while offering “just punishment”. The US government offered to monitor Bowser for three years after he was released from prison. Bowser also faces a $4.5 million federal fine.
Bowser defense argue against this large amount of prison time, a shorter period of 19 months is instead suggested. His lawyers argued that the US government was trying to use Bowser to “send a message” and that he was facing the “full burden” of the federal government simply as others involved may not face any charges.
“Gary Bowser is the least blameworthy and only defendant arrested from this indictment,” Bowser’s defense explained in court documents also filed yesterday. “He is also likely to be the only person convicted and convicted in this case. His fugitive accomplices, Max Louarn and Yuanning Chen, reside in countries that may not be able to extradite them for prosecution.”
Bowser’s legal team also tried to downplay how much he made through Team Xecuter, saying he only made an estimated $320,000 over seven years.
The defense agreed that Nintendo suffered “significant monetary losses” and that what Bowser and his team of fellow hackers did was a “serious offence”. But they think 5 years in prison is too much. “The 19-month sentence for the least guilty of the three accused accused … is substantial.”
In November 2021, Bowser pleaded guilty to two federal charges of conspiracy to circumvent technology measures and trafficking in infringing devices. The 51-year-old was arrested in late 2020 after being found in the Dominican Republic and extradited to the US. It is believed that the large scale of Team-Xecuter’s decades-long operationplus all the money they make and the costs to the video game companies, is what caught the eye of the federal government.
Immediately after pleading guilty to the federal charges against him, Bowser agrees to pay Nintendo $10 million in a separate civil lawsuit. This was the culmination of years of Nintendo’s pursuit of Bowser and his associates.
Now a federal judge decides how much jail time Gary Bowser will receive.
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