The United States Department of Justice has announced that it has arrested members of “notorious” piracy group Team Xecuter.
48-year old Frenchman Max Louarn, 35-year old Chinese citizen Yuanning Chen, and 51-year old Canadian Gary Bowser were all charged with developing and selling illegal devices to hack consoles and play pirated copies of video games. Interestingly, DoJ’s press release mentions the PlayStation Classic as one of the targeted platforms.
The statement reads:
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 pirating video game technology of U.S. companies. 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 work of other video game developers – even going so far as to make customers pay a licensing fee to play stolen games.
The DoJ argues that piracy doesn’t solely impact “billion dollar companies,” it “hijacks the hard work of individuals working to advance in the video game industry.”
The department is seeking Louarn’s extradition from France. Bowser has already been deported from the Dominican Republic and appeared in a court in New Jersey. It’s unclear how the DoJ will go about charging Chen considering he’s a Chinese citizen.