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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Cybercrime Defense / Video Game Hackers Face Serious Federal Charges in Florida

Video Game Hackers Face Serious Federal Charges in Florida


Hacking a video game might seem like a bit of innocent fun, but it can lead to serious, federal cybercrime charges in Florida. Two recent stories illustrate just how serious this situation can become – and both involve prison sentences. If you were charged with hacking into a video game, you should approach this situation in an effective manner. Your crime might have involved fun and games – but federal courts will take this offense very seriously.

Teen Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Sports Gaming App Hack 

On January 31st, Bloomberg reported that a 19-year-old had been sentenced to 18 months behind bars for hacking the popular sports gaming app DraftKings. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan completely rejected the teen’s defense strategy, which revolved around his youth and his naivety. Kaplan explained: “I understand about his youth, but this was pretty remarkable.” Turning to the defendant, the judge continued: “What you did – huge amounts of money, really.”

This huge sum of money was actually well under $1 million, and the teen managed to get his hands on about $600,000 thanks to the hack. Passwords and usernames were scraped from 1,600 accounts, allowing the teen to drain funds from the app. However, this wasn’t the first time the teen had carried out such an attack, and further investigations found that he had a database of 38 million username/password combinations. That is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Canada.

Along with his prison sentence, the defendant was ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution to DraftKings. The judge stated that he felt he had no choice but to order the sentence, as he wanted to send a message to other would-be hackers in the future.

Gary Bowser Released from Prison 

Gary Bowser believes that his sentence was also intended to “send a message” to other hackers. In 2022, the hacker was sentenced to 40 months in prison for hacking various Nintendo consoles – although he was released after just 14 months for good behavior.

During his hacking career, Bowser created and distributed illegal pirating software that allowed users to download and play Nintendo games for free. He specifically targeted consoles like the 3DS and Switch – becoming as villainous to the Japanese company as the homonymous Mario antagonist. One of the most unique aspects of this story is a condition of Bowser’s release that forces him to pay 25% of all future income to Nintendo for the rest of his life.

Find an Experienced Federal Cybercrime Defense Lawyer in Fort Myers 

Consider working alongside an experienced Fort Myers cybercrime defense lawyer if you were accused of hacking a video game. With an experienced defense attorney from Foley & Wilson at your side, you can approach your charges in an effective manner and mitigate any potential consequences you may be facing. These two stories illustrate just how seriously federal courts take cybercrimes – whether you’re hacking into the CIA mainframe or a Nintendo 3DS. Book your consultation today to discuss potential defense strategies.




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