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In context: Gary Bowser, the unfortunate-named former member of Nintendo hacking group Team Xecuter who received a 40-month prison sentence last year, has been released from his incarceration early, partly due to his good behavior while behind bars. He's returning to his home in Canada, but with a $14.5 million debt owed to Nintendo, he'll likely be handing over part of his income for the rest of his life.
In April 2020, Bowser, who shares the same name as Nintendo of America's president (and a certain Nintendo character), was arrested along with fellow Team Xecuter member Max Louarn on 11 felony counts of piracy. The group created tools like modchips and jailbreaks that allowed buyers to circumvent Nintendo's security measures, enabling them to play illegal ROMs on consoles/handhelds such as the Switch, 3DS, and Nintendo Wii. Bowser initially denied the charges but changed his plea to guilty a few months later. He was ordered to pay Nintendo $4.5 million and received jail time.
A Team-Xecuter rCM Loader for the Nintendo Switch
Bowser also faced a civil suit from Nintendo of America, which he ended up settling for $10 million. Team Xecuter allegedly made millions of dollars, but Bowser's attorney said his client's limited role in the group earned him just $500 to $1,000 per month.
In February last year, Bowser received a 40-month prison sentence. His defense argued that as the least culpable of the three arrested Team Xecuter members, he should get 19 months, which would have seen him spend just three months in prison given his time served. Nintendo, who thanked the law enforcement for their roles in arresting Bowser, wanted him jailed for five years. It later transpired that the company intended to send a message with Bowser's sentence.
What is it with Nintendo and all the Bowsers?
In a recent video interview with Nick Moses (via TorrentFreak), Bowser revealed that he was released early, on March 28, and is currently at Northwest Detention Center preparing for his return to Canada in roughly one week.
But Bowser won't be escaping his past once he gets home – there's still the $14.5 million he owes Nintendo, which, after paying $25 per month from his prison job, has been reduced by $175.
As part of the court agreement, Bowser must pay Nintendo 25% to 30% of his gross monthly income. So, it's pretty much a certainty that this is one payment he'll never see the end of.