Hacker Gary Bowser Discusses Post-Jail Life And Chipping Away At Nintendo’s $14m | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Image: Nintendo Life

Notorious figure Gary Bowser, who was convicted in 2022 for his role in criminal activity involving piracy of Nintendo games, has talked about his current circumstances, including struggles to pay electric and medical bills in the time since his early release from prison.

Speaking to Patricia Hernandez for The Guardian, Bowser — who owes Nintendo $14.5 million in fines after pleading guilty to fraud in connection with Team Xecuter, a hacking group responsible for producing mod chips and other devices that enable piracy on Switch and other platforms — talks about several aspects of his life now, including the impact of his incarceration on his health issues and how he assumes he will have to turn to food support surfaces in the future.

Speaking about his arrest in 2020, he said:

“I was sleeping in my bed, it was four in the morning, I’d been drinking all night. And suddenly I wake up and see three people surrounding my bed with rifles aimed at my head … they dragged me out of the place, put me in the back of a pickup truck and drove me to the Interpol office.”

Bowser was taken into federal custody and subsequently sentenced in 2022. Good behaviour led to his early release in April last year, 14 months into a 40-month sentence. According to the article, the 54-year-old believes he could have fought the case given time and money, but ultimately decided it would be easier to plead guilty and reduce the number of charges from 13 to 2.

Gary Bowser GoFundMe Page
Image: Gary Bowser

Bowser, who suffers from elephantiasis in his left leg, also claims that medical attention wasn’t always available in prison, although he was provided with a wheelchair. He now uses a cane to aid mobility and says the support of friends is helping him cover food and clothing costs, and a GoFundMe page helps cover his medical bills as he looks for work and to rebuild his life in Toronto.

The multimillion-dollar restitution he owes Nintendo is actually the total from two separate cases brought against him. The agreement stipulates that “20-30%” of Bowser’s surplus income — money left over once rent and other necessities have been covered — must be repaid to Nintendo. The Guardian article details how he began making repayments while still in prison, earning a dollar an hour through four-hour shifts counselling other prisoners.

“I was paying Nintendo $25 a month.”

“I’ll pay them what I can, which won’t be very much money, that’s for sure.”

Bowser’s case was a high-profile one that carried a severe sentence, with “sending a message” to other hackers being a contributing factor, according to the presiding judge.

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