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Three members of one of the world’s most notorious video game piracy groups, “Team Xecuter,” were charged Friday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Max Louarn, 48, a French national of Avignon, France; Yuanning Chen, 35, a Chinese national of Shenzhen, China; and Gary Bowser, 51, a Canadian national of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, were charged in a federal indictment with 11 felony counts, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and to traffic in circumvention devices, trafficking in circumvention devices, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to authorities.
The three are allegedly members of “Team Xecuter,” a criminal enterprise that develops and sells illegal devices that hack popular video game consoles in order for users to play unauthorized, or pirated, copies of games.
The group targets consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, the Sony PlayStation Classic and the Microsoft Xbox, according to the DOJ.
“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,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt 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.”
According to court documents, “Team Xecuter” comprises more than a dozen individual members located around the world, including developers and website designers.
Last month, Louarn and Bowser were arrested abroad; the U.S. will seek Louarn’s extradition to stand trial in the United States. Bowser was arrested and deported from the Dominican Republic and appeared Friday in federal court in New Jersey.
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