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Hacker has to pay Nintendo 25-30% of his salary for the rest of his life after being released from prison
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/NickMoses05/Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

Hacker has to pay Nintendo 25-30% of his salary for the rest of his life after being released from prison

Gary Bowser was part of gamer hacking group Team Xecuter

A failed Nintendo hacking scheme has left a man paying the company 25-30 percent of his salary every month until he pays of his debt.

In October 2020, Gary Bowser - no, we're not pulling your leg - was arrested for the part he played in a hacking group called Team Xecuter.

Team Xecuter is a group which created mod chips, cartridges and jailbreaking software for game consoles including the likes of Nintendo Switch.

Basically, for the non-gamers among us, the team was making games free to use which obviously posed quite a large problem for companies such as Nintendo.

After being arrested for his role in the group, Bowser pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges the following year, admitting he'd sold tools which hacked the portable Nintendo console in particular.

The 53-year-old Canadian was sentenced to 40 months in prison in the US and instructed to cough up $14.5 million for his involvement in the group.

In 2023, Bowser was granted early release, however, while it may've marked his freedom from prison, it would only mark the start of him having to cough up a serious amount of cash each month to pay Nintendo back.

As of his release, Bowser owed Nintendo $10 million. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
As of his release, Bowser owed Nintendo $10 million. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Bowser spoke out about his early release at the time in an interview with YouTuber Nick Moses, explaining his early release was partly was due to his age, health issues which limit his mobility, and the fact he was born in Canada.

He said he was set to return to the Toronto area, but just because he was leaving the US, it didn't mean he could run from the money he owed Nintendo.

As of his release, Bowser owed Nintendo $10 million in restitution as well as a $4.5 million fine, and of that $14.5 million.

During his interview with Moses in April 2023, the hacker said he'd only managed to pay off $175 so far. No, that's not a typo. There aren't meant to be any extra zeroes.

Bowser claimed he wouldn't have to 'worry' about the $4.5 million fine when he returned to Canada, but said he'd struck an agreement with Nintendo that the company could take chunks of his salary to pay off the $10 million he owed them.

The amount he'd paid so far came from $25 monthly instalments taken from his income from a job in the prison library, but with a pretty hefty chunk left to pay, Bowser was facing the possibility of coughing up cash to the company for the rest of his life.

Bowser was sentenced to 40 months in prison. (YouTube/NickMoses05)
Bowser was sentenced to 40 months in prison. (YouTube/NickMoses05)

He told Moses: "The agreement with them is that the maximum they can take is between 25 to 30 percent of your monthly gross income. And I have, like, six months before I have to start making payments."

Bowser previously claimed that he only received a small fraction of the 'tens of millions of dollars of proceeds' that Team Xecuter earned.

He was the only one of the three members of the group to be tried and convicted in the US - another member, a Chinese national, was never arrested, and the third was not able to be extradited to the US.

Bowser was initially charged with 11 felonies for his involvement, including wire fraud, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures, trafficking in circumvention devices, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

In an interview with The Guardian published in February 2024, Bowser said he'd secured housing and pays Nintendo 'what [he] can' but it 'won't be very much money that's for sure' given he's still finding a job and is relying on donations to help fund his medical care for his leg.

However, he resolved: "It could be a lot worse."

UNILAD contacted Nintendo for comment in April 2023.

Topics: Money, US News, Canada, Gaming, Nintendo