A man sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a Nintendo Switch hack-selling scheme has been released early. But he says he will have to pay Nintendo a portion of whatever income he makes every month, for a very long time, as part of a $10 million settlement with company.
In a podcast interview (first reported by TorrentFreak), Gary Bowser, 53, said he was let out of federal prison in Seattle early because of his age, medical condition, and nationality (he is Canadian). He will soon return to the Toronto area. But Bowser noted that his plea agreement calls for him to pay Nintendo $10 million in restitution.
“The agreement with them is that the maximum they can take is between 25 to 30% of your monthly gross income,” Bowser told podcaster Nick Moses. “And I have, like, six months before I have to start making payments.”
Bowser was arrested in the Dominican Republic in October 2020 and was one of three members of Team Xecuter, which developed and sold devices to hack video game consoles, among them the Nintendo Switch. He pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges in November 2021. In that plea, Bowser admitted to selling tools that hacked Nintendo Switch consoles and which his customers used to get Switch games for free.
In December 2021, he agreed to pay Nintendo $10 million to settle a civil lawsuit Nintendo had brought against him. Bowser’s criminal sentence also called for a $4.5 million fine, but since he is returning to Canada, Bowser said he is unlikely to have to pay that.
It’s also unlikely Nintendo will ever see its full amount. So far, Bowser said, he’s paid Nintendo $175 from the money he earned working in the prison’s library and kitchen. He also has health issues that limit his mobility. Bowser, in the podcast, mentioned he was grateful to return to Canada for the access to health care and disability insurance that affords him.