Man named Gary Bowser pleads guilty to Nintendo piracy charges

A man named Gary Bowser has pleaded guilty to piracy charges filed by Nintendo which could see him spend ten years in prison.

Bowser, who was arrested in 2020, was a member of hacking group Team-Xecuter. In a plea agreement obtained by Torrentfreak (opens in new tab), he plead guilty to “conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and to traffic in circumvention devices,” and “trafficking in circumvention.” Each of those crimes carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Bowser, originally from Canada, was arrested in the Dominican Republic, and then extradited to the US, where he faces 11 felony counts, including money laundering. Other members of Team-Xecuter facing charges have either not been extradited to the US yet, or have yet to be found by police.

The US government claims that the group made “at least tens of millions of dollars” from selling emulation devices allowing buyers to play pirated ROMs of Nintendo games. It also claimed that any attempt by the group to position itself as video game history enthusiasts was merely a “cloak” for “illegal activity.” Having entered his plea, Bowser has been ordered to pay Nintendo $4.5 million in damages, and also faces another lawsuit filed by the company earlier this year.

Bowser, who shares a surname with Nintendo president Doug Bowser and the big green lizard who Mario regularly spars with, isn’t the first person to feel the company’s legal force in recent years. Nintendo has been going after emulators and ROM sites increasingly aggressively, forcing many to shut down in the face of significant fees.

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