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Press Release

Former Cedar Rapids Fragrance Hut Owner Sentenced to Federal Prison for Selling Synthetic Drugs, Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

The former owner of the Fragrance Hut in Cedar Rapids, who sold synthetic drugs from his store was sentenced yesterday to more than 11 years in federal prison.

Matthew James McCauley, age 39, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after his September 29, 2014 guilty pleas to maintaining a premises for the distribution of controlled substances and aggravated identity theft.

At the earlier plea hearing, McCauley admitted he opened the Fragrance Hut, formerly located at 2902 First Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids, for the purpose of distributing illegal synthetic controlled substances, commonly referred to as “spice” or “K2.”  Court documents reflect McCauley opened the Fragrance Hut in February 2014, and that the store sold synthetic cannabinoid products with names like “WTF,” “Diablo,” “Purple Haze,” “Fairly Legal,” “Green Giant,” and “Smoking Santa.”  At the sentencing hearing, McCauley admitted to placing online orders for well over 2 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoid products for the store during May and June 2014.  McCauley also admitted to having stolen the identity of another individual during and in relation to a wire fraud scheme.  Court documents reflect McCauley created a false driver’s license using another individual’s name and date of birth.  McCauley then used that name and date of birth to obtain a fraudulent line of credit to purchase jewelry at a local jewelry store.

McCauley was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  McCauley was sentenced to 134 months’ imprisonment, consisting of 110 months’ imprisonment on the drug charge, and two consecutive years on the identity theft charge.  Special assessment totaling $200 were imposed, and he was ordered to make $4,975.21 in restitution to the identity theft victim.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

McCauley is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force consisting of the DEA; the Cedar Rapids Police Department; the Linn County Sheriff's Office; the Marion Police Department; the Iowa City Police Department; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.

Court file information available:  The case file numbers are CR14-94-LRR and 14-MJ-186.

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Updated June 11, 2015