Gary Bowser, the Canadian man who served 30 months in prison for his role in Nintendo Switch piracy, has turned to GoFundMe to help pay his medical bills. So far, he has raised $7,755 CAD, which will go towards relief for his leg pain brought on by lymphedema, which he says got worse while he was in prison.
This comes from a recent interview with The Guardian, shedding some light on Bowser’s life now that he is out of prison. While he has served his time, Bowser still owes Nintendo $14.5 million – a figure that he had to start paying with earnings from his low-paid prison job.
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Bowser says he already had health issues before his prison stay, but this was only exacerbated during his sentence. Covid restrictions kept in him his cell almost 24 hours a day, worsening the condition of his left leg. He required a wheelchair to get around due to the pain, and now uses a cane. He says he attends physical therapy three times a week now that he’s out, adding to his medical bills.
These fees aren’t the only strain on his finances. Bowser also has to pay Nintendo 20 to 30 percent of his income every month, after paying rent and other bills.
Bowser was charged alongside two Team Xecuter members, Max Louarn and Yuanning Chen. Neither appear to have been detained at the time of writing.
Bowser started paying Nintendo off while he was in prison, working as a counsellor for prisoners with mental health issues. He was paid a dollar an hour for this work, so he had to start paying Nintendo back immediately, sending around $25 a month to the company.
Since the interview was shared online, Bowser’s GoFundMe has received more attention. Over the past 24 hours, donations upwards of $100 have flooded in, bringing Bowser closer to his $9,000 goal. 200 people have contributed to the fundraiser so far.
Bowser’s legal issues came about due to his role in the hacker group, Team Xecuter. The group created and sold a chip that, when used on a Nintendo Switch, would enable the console to play pirated games. In the interview, Bowser maintains that his role was limited to updating Xecuter’s website and sharing information on the group’s latest products. It was, however, enough to see him charged and convicted of fraud. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison, although he was let out after 14 months. Combined with the time he was held pending trial, he was incarcerated for a total of 30 months.
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