The US government seeks a five-year jail term for Nintendo hackers Gary Bowser. Bowser was a member of a hacking group called Team-Xecuter, which specialized in creating and selling circumvention devices that enabled users to play illegal ROMS on consoles including Switch and 3DS since 2013.
The hacking group managed to generate tens of millions of dollars in sales and resulted in nearly $150 million in losses to victims, according to the US government.
After being arrested in September 2020, Bowser appeared in court last October and was charged with 11 felony counts. He pled guilty to two counts and offered to pay Nintendo $4.5 million instead of facing trial.
The prosecution waived all other charges, though warned him he could be prosecuted to a jail term in spite of his plea, he could still face prison, each of the two counts he pled guilty to punishable by up to five years in prison.
According to Eurogamer, a new court filing suggests, the US government and Bowser’s defense put forward their recommendations to the judge who will decide Bowser’s fate. With the government wanting to impose a sentence of 60 months, followed by three years of supervised release, in addition to the $4.5 million fine.
It claims, “A 60-month sentence is appropriate given the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the need for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense, to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct, and to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities.”
Bowser defends himself to impose a 19-month prison sentence, which would see him released in three months given the time already served. With his lawyers arguing about him being the least culpable member of Team-Xecuter. They said that he’s being asked to “take the full brunt of the government’s argument that the Court must ‘send a message of general deterrence by imposing a lengthy-term”.
According to Bowser’s defense, he earned a total of around $320,000 over a seven-year spell running websites advertising the illegal products, hosting forums, and providing customer support.
It said, “Mr. Bowser played a significant role, but he was not the leader, was not in control of the enterprise, and was not the manufacturer of the devices. Without [fugitive co-defendants] Chen or Louarn, there would be no enterprise. But without Mr. Bowser, Louarn would have found someone else to be ‘the face’ of this effort.”
Bowser in a separate civil case ruling in December was asked to pay Nintendo an additional $10 million as a fine for his part in selling console mods.
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