Two members of Team Executer, a hacking and piracy organization known for its Nintendo hacks, have been arrested and charged with fraud. Gary Bowser and Max Louarn were arrested in the Dominican Republic and are both known for allegedly leading the group to make tools such as the SX Pro USB that allows pirated games to run on the Nintendo Switch.
Known for selling products rather than focusing on open-source efforts, Team Xecuter is a controversial entity in the emulation community, according to Ars Technica. Nintendo had already filed two lawsuits against the organization earlier this year with intention of shutting down all third-party retailers that sell its products online. Recently, Nintendo has had success in shutting down popular ROM sites known for distributing emulated Nintendo games.
“These defendants were allegedly leaders of a notorious international criminal group that reaped illegal profits for years by pirating video game technology of U.S. companies,” Brian C. Rabbitt, the acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement. “These arrests show that the department will hold accountable hackers who seek to commandeer and exploit the intellectual property of American companies for financial gain, no matter where they may be located.”
The release from the Justice Department further states that Xecuter “attempted to protect its overall business by using a wide variety of brands, websites, and distribution channels, according to the indictment” and that the organization “cloaked its illegal activity with a purported desire to support gaming enthusiasts who wanted to design their own videogames for noncommercial use.”
If convicted, both men face 20 years for each charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, with up to five years for lesser charges.