The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington sentenced Gary Bowser to a 40-month prison sentence for creating and selling “console-hacking software and exploitation of various companies’ video game console devices including Nintendo, where they hacked Nintendo Switch games.

The 52-year-old Canadian man had been allegedly producing and distributing hacked console devices that would allow used to play pirated games. These included Nintendo’s range of consoles along with PlayStation’s classic console and Microsoft’s Xbox with two other men and they were known as Team Xecuter. The other two member were Mas Louarn of France and Yuanning Chen of China, also included in the indictment, but neither are in custody.

Bowser was arrested and deported from the Dominican Republic in 2020 and pled guilty to the charges of Conspiracy to Circumvent Technological Measures and to Traffic in Circumvention Devices and Trafficking in Circumvention Devices in October 2021.

Despite the attempts of Bowser’s defense team to downplay his actions, such as categorizing his profits from the crimes as “minimal,” the U.S. Department of Justice was evidently not satisfied with his legal team’s suggestion of a 19-month sentence.

“As the voice and public face of these sophisticated cybercriminals for years, Mr. Bowser bears responsibility for stealing millions of dollars in profit and victim losses from the intellectual property of others,” FBI Special Agent Donald Voiret said in a statement. He also wasted the efforts of legitimate companies as they attempted to build protections for their products,” Voiret added.

The U.S. government had suggested Bowser be sentenced to five years in prison, in addition to the two fines totaling nearly $15 million Bowser has agreed to pay to Nintendo. U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said the “piracy scheme” of Team Xecuter, the group of which Bowser was a part, had caused more than $65 million to video game companies.

Nintendo was so grateful they released this statement of their gratitude on Thursday: Nintendo appreciates the hard work and tireless efforts of federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to curb illegal activities on a global scale that cause serious harm to Nintendo and the video game industry. In particular, Nintendo would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security investigations (HSI) of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs for their significant contribution and assistance.

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