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Convicted console hacker says he paid Nintendo $25 a month from prison

Accepted submission by Freeman at 2024-02-02 16:25:49 from the subscription for life dept.
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When 54-year-old Gary Bowser pleaded guilty [] to his role in helping Team Xecuter with their piracy-enabling line of console accessories [], he realized he would likely never pay back the $14.5 million he owed Nintendo in civil [] and criminal penalties []. In a new interview with The Guardian [], though, Bowser says he began making $25 monthly payments toward those massive fines even while serving a related prison sentence.

Last year, Bowser was released [] after serving 14 months of that 40-month sentence (in addition to 16 months of pre-trial detention), which was spread across several different prisons. During part of that stay, Bowser tells The Guardian, he was paid $1 an hour for four-hour shifts counseling other prisoners on suicide watch.
Nintendo lawyers were upfront [] that they pushed for jail time for Bowser to “send a message that there are consequences for participating in a sustained effort to undermine the video game industry."
Bowser also maintains that he wasn’t directly involved with the coding or manufacture of Team Xecuter’s products and only worked on incidental details like product testing, promotion, and website coding. Speaking to Ars in 2020 [], Aurora, a writer for hacking news site Wololo [], described Bowser as “kind of a PR guy” for Team Xecuter. Despite this, Bowser said taking a plea deal on just two charges saved him the time and money of fighting all 14 charges made against him in court.
Now that he’s free, Bowser says he has been relying on friends and a GoFundMe[ []] page to pay for rent and necessities as he looks for a job. That search could be somewhat hampered by his criminal record and by terms of the plea deal that prevent him from working with any modern gaming hardware.

Despite this, Bowser told The Guardian that his current circumstances are still preferable to a period of homelessness he experienced during his 20s. And while console hacking might be out for Bowser, he is reportedly still “tinkering away with old-school Texas Instruments calculators” to pass the time.

Alternate source with GoFundMe link (added to the story above): Nintendo Sued a Man So Severely That He Can Only Survive on GoFundMe []

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