One of the key members of a Switch hacking group that sold modchips has been given a second, larger fine.
Gary Bowser, a member of a group of hackers called Team-Xecuter, has been ordered to pay Nintendo $10 million for his part in selling mods for the Switch and 3DS.
The fine was the result of a civil case between Nintendo and Bowser, and was separate to a different federal lawsuit in which Bowser was also fined $4.5 million.
In the previous case, Bowser and another Team-Xecuter member, Max Louarn, were charged with 11 felony counts, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
If found guilty, the pair faced long prison sentences, with those two charges alone punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Instead of facing trial, Bowser pled guilty to two counts – Trafficking in Circumvention Devices, and Conspiracy to Circumvent Technological Measures and to Traffic in Circumvention Devices – and offered to pay Nintendo $4.5 million, as well as help them to find other members of the team.
The prosecution agreed to waive all other charges as a result, but the judge warned that despite his plea bargain Bowser could still face prison time for the two counts he pleaded guilty to, with each punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Bowser took part in Team-Xecuter’s activities – under that group name and others including Axiogame.com and Maxconsole.com – from June 2013 until his arrest in September 2020.
The group created and sold a number of “illegal circumvention devices” designed to allow users to play illegal ROMs on their consoles, including the Switch, 3DS, PlayStation Mini and SNES Mini, with the most notable being the SX Pro modchip and SX OS, which allowed ROMs to be played on the Switch.
Bowser was put in charge of the Maxconsole.com site, which served as a central hub for marketing the devices and customer support. He also administered a site containing ROM libraries that offered illegal copies of 13,630 games.
Although Team-Xecuter itself has been the main focus of these particular cases, Nintendo has also been pursuing third-party retailers who have been selling the group’s products.
Tom Dilts Jr, the Ohio-based operator of the website Uberchips, was selling Team-Xecuter products, until Nintendo filed a lawsuit in May 2020. Dilts Jr subsequently took the site offline and agreed to pay Nintendo $2 million in damages.