Street Fighter II developer jailed for withholding staff pay

Sensory Sweep Studio owner David Rushton didn't pay his game designers and producers a combined sum of $1.2 million -- and because of that, is now spending a year in jail.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
Sensory Sweep Studio developed Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. Xbox

The head of gaming company Sensory Sweep Studio has landed in jail after not paying his workers a combined sum of $1.2 million.

According to the Associated Press, David Rushton, 57, who operated out of Salt Lake City, Utah, withheld pay from his staff of 211 people.

"We had occasional paychecks that trickled in. Some people were favored more than others," former Sensory Sweep Studio game designer Adam Hunter told the Associated Press. He quit working for Rushton in 2009 and is still owed $12,000.

Sensory Sweep Studio created several games for Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005, Justice League Heroes, Jackass: The Game, and Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting.

A wage claim lawsuit was filed against Rushton and Sensory Sweep Studio in 2009. According to the Associated Press, one year later, Rushton was sentenced to six months in jail on separate charges of tax fraud and racketeering. Eventually, Rushton took a plea deal for the wage claim lawsuit and agreed to one year in jail, but apparently he intends to appeal.

"We thought that Mr. Rushton was trying to continue his business on the backs of his employees," wage-claim manager at the Utah Labor Commission Brent Asay told the Associated Press. "I just really feel bad for these people, performing work and not getting paid. We saw very few cases where he made payroll."