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Random Stuff       Thread starter PSXHAX       Start date Oct 3, 2020 at 12:46 AM       12,889       31      
Proceeding the release group SPARKS bust early last month that left many siteops and couriers without topsites to distribute warez, 2020 continues to haunt the scene with the United States Department of Justice issuing a press release confirming two Team Xecuter leaders are now in custody facing multiple felony counts after Tom Dilts Jr. of Ohio-based reseller Uberchips.com recently reached a settlement with Nintendo of America, Inc. for 2 million dollars. 💸

Below is the official DOJ Press Release (PDF): Two members of notorious videogame p!racy group “Team Xecuter” in custody

Arrested on Indictment from Western District of Washington

Seattle — Two leaders of one of the world’s most notorious videogame p!racy groups, Team Xecuter, have been arrested and are in custody facing charges filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

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 unsealed today. The indictment alleges the defendants were leaders of a criminal enterprise that developed and sold illegal devices that hacked popular videogame consoles so they could be used to play unauthorized, or backup, copies of videogames. The enterprise targeted popular consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, the Sony PlayStation Classic, and the Microsoft Xbox.

“These defendants were allegedly leaders of a notorious international criminal group that reaped illegal profits for years by backing up video game technology of U.S. companies,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “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.”

“These defendants lined their pockets by stealing and selling the intellectual property of other video-game developers–even going so far as to make customers pay a licensing fee to play stolen games,” said U.S. Attorney Brian Moran. “This conduct doesn’t just harm billion-dollar companies, it hijacks the hard work of individuals working to advance in the video-game industry.”

“Theft of intellectual property hurts U.S. industry, game developers, and exploits legitimate gaming customers. All of which threaten the legitimacy of the commercial video game industry,” said Eben Roberts, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Seattle. “We are committed to working with our international partners to find criminals like these who steal copyrighted material and bring cyber criminals to justice.”

“Imagine if something you invented was stolen from you and then marketed and sold to customers around the world. That is exactly what Team Xecutor was doing,” said Raymond Duda, FBI Special Agent in Charge Seattle. “This is a perfect example of why the FBI has made the prevention of the theft of intellectual property a priority. These arrests should send a message to would-be pirates that the FBI does not consider these crimes to be a game.”

According to court documents, the Team Xecuter criminal enterprise is comprised of over a dozen individual members located around the world. These members include developers who exploit vulnerabilities in videogame consoles and design circumvention devices; website designers who create the various websites that promote the enterprise’s devices; suppliers who manufacture the devices; and resellers around the world who sell and distribute the devices. The indictment alleges that due to the illegal nature of its business, Team Xecuter continuously sought to evade enforcement efforts by victim companies, financial institutions, and law enforcement. Notably, Team Xecuter attempted to protect its overall business by using a wide variety of brands, websites, and distribution channels, according to the indictment. From approximately June 2013 through August 2020, Team Xecuter used a variety of product names for its devices, such as the Gateway 3DS, the Stargate, the TrueBlue Mini, the Classic2Magic, and the SX line of devices that included the SX OS, the SX Pro, the SX Lite, and the SX Core.

According to the indictment, Team Xecuter at times cloaked its illegal activity with a purported desire to support gaming enthusiasts who wanted to design their own videogames for noncommercial use. However, the overwhelming demand and use for the enterprise’s devices was to play backup videogames. To support this illegal activity, Team Xecuter allegedly helped create and support online libraries of backup videogames for its customers, and several of the enterprise’s devices came preloaded with numerous backup videogames. According to the indictment, Team Xecuter was so brazen that it even required customers to purchase a “license” to unlock the full features of its custom firmware, the SX OS, in order to enable the ability to play backup videogames.

In September 2020, LOUARN and BOWSER were arrested abroad in connection with the charges in this case. The United States will seek LOUARN’s extradition to stand trial in the United States. BOWSER was arrested and deported from the Dominican Republic and appeared today in federal court in New Jersey.

Each defendant is charged 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.

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Conspiracy and trafficking in circumvention devices are each punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francis Franze-Nakamura and Brian Werner of the Western District of Washington, and Senior Counsel Frank Lin of the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, with significant and ongoing assistance from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. The Department appreciates the significant cooperation and assistance provided by its foreign government counterparts and the Government of the Dominican Republic, and Interpol Dominicana.
Team Xecuter Console Hacking Group Leaders Arrested, DOJ Press Release.jpg
 

Comments

RedDotZer0

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i liked it when things were simpler and less convoluted then today
but people can learn a lot
 

PSXHAX

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It appears the host pulled GaryOPA's site down today, as currently maxconsole.com redirects to the prolocation.net homepage.

Even though some on the TX Forum (thread now removed 🙃) sound optimistic, I'll be surprised if it returns despite the deep pockets of his partner Max's associate Kim Dotcom of Kim.com who also got raided years back resulting in MegaUpload becoming MEGA.

Recently ArsTechnica did an article on this worth a read, and if anyone is old enough to remember here's a 'Duck Hunt' flashback pic of Max Louarn (left) and Kim Dotcom (middle) from his old site kimble.org:

Spoiler

Also according to TorrentFreak's latest update, Team-Xecuter Defendant ‘GaryOPA’ was deemed a flight risk and remains in prison with the PDF Document available from US Magistrate Judge Michelle Peterson.

:arrow: Update: While the domain isn't seized yet, according to TorrentFreak the Team-Xecuter site is officially down producing only an “Error establishing a database connection” message suggesting something at the backend of the site is broken.

Here are also a few more articles on Max Louarn in French for those interested, with a picture below of him holding a mask next to his lawyer:
title-1616450480.jpg
 

RedDotZer0

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their internal communications got tapped. reverse proxys used etc to protect identities, encrypted messaging apps etc. craftiness aside the more things change the more they stay the same ig

young and old can learn a thing from that generation even if its 20+ years back

swap disc trick works similarly as you inject game header's data into read area. one chip or mod chip hex ... good times for playstation back then
 

mukasange

Senior Member
Contributor
but why nintendo didn't file lawsuit against wiimmfi? are they only targeting a new console jailbreak and why does wii shutdown rom sites back in 2018, it sadden me that team xecuter got arrested they could make xbox one jailbreak someday
 

Xanderwik

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From what I understand, now that SXOS had their chip dumped (exploiters on exploiters) the belief that a lot of the CFW SXOS was taken from Atmosphere and then sold to customers has been verified.

In other words packaging and reselling freeware. It's why the community is torn about the x team.

I went to school for computer science so... I'm not a fan of team x.

I do NOT think the punishment fits though... :( I wanted to clarify that I don't wish 20 years for each offense on them...
 

PSXHAX

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:arrow: Quick update for those following via TorrentFreak.com: Team-Xecuter's Gary Bowser Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges

Bowser Pleads Guilty
(bowserplea.pdf)

Bowser initially denied any wrongdoing but last week he changed his position and pleaded guilty. The plea agreement with the U.S. Government sheds more light on how Team-Xecuter operated. It contains a statement of facts to which all parties agreed, which includes various admissions.

“Defendant, GARY BOWSER, aka ‘GaryOPA,’ knowingly and willfully participated in a cybercriminal enterprise that hacked leading gaming consoles and that developed, manufactured, marketed, and sold a variety of circumvention devices that allowed the enterprise’s customers to play backup versions of copyrighted video games, commonly referred to as ‘ROMs’,” it reads.

Bowser’s involvement started in June 2013 and continued until his arrest last year. With the new agreement, the Canadian pleads guilty to conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and trafficking in circumvention devices. He also admits to violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. Both counts carry a maximum prison penalty of five years.

The Homebrew Cover

The conspiracy, which also includes co-defendants Max Louarn and Yuanning Chen, used various brands including “Team Xecuter,” “Axiogame.com,” “Maxconsole.com,” and “China Distribution.” Team-Xecuter regularly stressed its intention to support homebrew enthusiasts. However, the U.S. prosecution sees this as a cover.

The primary goal was to sell circumvention devices that would allow customers to play backup ROMs. To achieve this, co-defendant Max Louarn put Bowser in charge of operating maxconsole.com, through which he helped to market and sell Team-Xecuter devices.

“Mr. Bowser’s role was to market the enterprise’s products, post news releases about new products and updates to products, and work with retailers who distributed the enterprise’s products. Mr. Bowser would also post replies to inquiries from customers of these illegal circumvention devices on Maxconsole.com,” the plea agreement reads.

Tens of Million in Revenue

SX OS was one of Team-Xecuter’s most lucrative product lines. It allowed gamers to use Nintendo Switch with custom firmware which allowed them to play backup games. Through all sales, Team-Xecuter reportedly generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue.

“The enterprise generated at least tens of millions of dollars of proceeds from the sale of its circumvention devices,” the agreement reads, adding that this directly harmed Nintendo and other parties.

Bowser himself only saw a fraction of these revenues coming his way. He earned between $500-1000 a month as the operator of the team-xecuter.com and maxconsole.com websites. In addition, he was allowed to keep the advertising income, which brought his total revenue to roughly $320,000.

$4.5 Million Restitution

In addition to the guilty plea on two counts, Bowser also voluntarily agreed to pay $4.5 million in restitution to Nintendo. He also agreed to help locate any remaining Team-Xecuter assets.

The cooperative stance increases the likelihood of a reduced sentence but the Government stresses that there are no guarantees. The prosecution did agree to waive the nine remaining charges in the indictment, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Based on the agreement, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida recommends that Bowser will indeed be found guilty. The final sentence will be issued in due course after both the defense and prosecution have shared their recommendations.

In addition to the criminal proceeding, Bowser was also sued directly by Nintendo last April. This case remains ongoing and Bowser has yet to file an official response to the complaint.
 

PSXHAX

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Since @garyopa's guilty plea on Federal Charges, the Civil case judgement against him was set at an additional $10 million dollar fine alongside a permanent injunction against him having anything to do (advertising, marketing, promoting, selling, running websites, etc) with circumvention devices as outlined in the PDF document below:
Additionally, the MaxConsole.com, Team-Xecuter.com, etc domains have now been seized by ICE Homeland Security Investigations.
 
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