Two Leaders of Videogame Piracy Group Arrested

On Friday America’s Department of Justice announced: Two leaders of one of the world’s most notorious videogame piracy groups, Team Xecuter, have been arrested and are in custody facing charges filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle… 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 pirated, 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 pirating 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 work 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 for the Western District of Washington. “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 Acting Special Agent in Charge Eben Roberts of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 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….”

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 pirated videogames.