In the fall of 2020, the U.S. Government indicted three members of the infamous ‘Team Xecuter’ group, the masterminds behind various Nintendo hacks.
Authorities located Canadian Gary Bowser in the Dominican Republic and arrested him there. Meanwhile, Frenchman Max Louarn was detained in Tanzania.
The prosecution characterized 52-year-old Bowser as the “salesperson” of Team-Xecuter due to his work with resellers of the group’s products. He was also known as “GaryOPA” and in his capacity as operator of the website “MaxConsole”, which regularly reviewed Team-Xecuter hardware and other hacking tools.
40 Month Prison Sentence
Following his arrest, Bowser was deported to the United States where he pleaded guilty. Last February, Bowser was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in the criminal enterprise. The sentence is significant but lower than the five-year prison term the Government had requested.
During sentencing, Judge Lasnik said that it was important ‘to send a message’ but agreed that a reduction was warranted as Bowser played the smallest role of the three defendants. He also faced medical and other issues.
Since last year, Bowser has been incarcerated at Federal Detention Center SeaTac in Seattle. Since he already spent time in prison before the case was heard, the Bureau of Prisoners calculated a release date of July 31, 2023.
This means that the 52-year-old will be a free man again in a few months. Ideally, however, Bowser would like to get out long before then. Through his lawyer, he requested a reduction last week, citing time credits earned thus far.
“Petitioner is eligible to receive Earned Time Credits (ETCs). If the BOP applied the ETCs that Petitioner has earned, Petitioner would be entitled to at least 105 days and a release date as early as March 18, 2023,” the petition reads.
The petition is still under review at the Seattle federal court. Meanwhile, Bowser is already making plans for his future outside of the penitentiary, which will present its own set of challenges.
Call From Prison
Yesterday, Nick Moses of the gaming podcast NickMoses05 published a brief phone call with Bowser, looking ahead to what lies next.
One of Bowser’s concerns is that he believes he will be simply dropped off at the Canadian border following his release, with no means at his disposal. The only clothing he has is a paper-thin green jumpsuit provided by the prison.
“That’s the problem; being Canadian and because we’re close here to the Canadian border and Seattle, they’ll just basically fingerprint me and get released, then drive me to the Canadian border and kick my ass off the bus and say: walk home.
“That’s the problem because walking home, that’s like 3,000 miles to the nearest person that might even be able to look after me in Canada,” Bowser said.
In recent years, Bowser has built up his life in the Dominican Republic and his parents are no longer alive. He does have some friends in Toronto taking care of some personal belongings, but that’s thousands of miles away from Seattle.
“My real support system is back in the Dominican Republic. Eventually, I gonna have to get back there,” Bowser says.
First, however, Bowser plans to spend a few months in Canada to get all of the paperwork in order. He also wants to use the time to get some treatment for medical issues, including problems with his leg.
“I have to get my leg worked on too because of the swelling in my left leg. While I’m in Canada I’m going to try to get that dome because Canada has a good public healthcare system. So that’s going to be one of my major priorities.”
Bowser’s means are limited and they will be for a while, as he previously agreed to pay $10 million in damages to Nintendo. The $12 a month he earns for his work in prison doesn’t help much with that.
Nonetheless, the work made his stay in prison more tolerable. Nothing beats being a free man, of course, and whether that takes a few weeks or months, his release is getting closer by the day.
During the call, Nick Moses kindly offered to help Bowser try and get back on his feet. We will keep an eye on these developments during the weeks to come, including the request for an early release.
Finally, it is worth noting that Bowser remains the only person related to Team-Xecuter to be convicted. Max Louarn, one of the group’s masterminds, managed to stay out of the FBI’s hands and reportedly lives in France. The third defendant, a Chinese man named Yuanning Chen, is also still at large.
A copy of the request for an early release based on the earned time credits is available here (pdf)