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Press Release

Iowa Nurse Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing Pain Pill from Elderly Nursing Home Resident

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Nurse, Who Has Eight Prior Convictions, Also Loses His License

An Iowa nurse who diverted narcotics from two Waterloo area nursing homes, including a pain pill from a 95-year-old who was suffering from chronic pain and dementia, was sentenced November 2, 2022, to a year in federal prison.

Matthew Daniel Bowlden, age 32, formerly of Waterloo and Centerville, Iowa, received the prison term after a May 18, 2022 guilty plea to one count of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge.  Evidence presented in a plea agreement and at Bowlden’s sentencing showed that Bowlden worked at two nursing homes in the Waterloo area in 2019.  Bowlden diverted narcotics from both nursing homes.  For example, on his first shift at one of the nursing homes, in March 2019, Bowlden was working in the nursing home’s “dementia unit” and removed an oxycodone pill that another nurse had placed within a plastic cup.  The pain pill in the cup was intended for a 95-year-old resident of the nursing home’s dementia unit who suffered from chronic pain.  Bowlden consumed the pill and threw the plastic cup away in the trash.

Bowlden has eight prior convictions extending back to 2013.  Bowlden’s prior convictions include operating while intoxicated, interference with official acts, receiving stolen property specifically a firearm, tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of marijuana, and escape or attempted escape from custody.  Bowlden previously served time in a Missouri prison before he was released and violated the terms of his parole by committing crimes in Iowa.  Bowlden was investigated on three separate occasions by the Iowa Board of Nursing, which ultimately suspended Bowlden’s nursing license in 2019 with leave to reinstate it after one year.  As a result of Bowlden’s federal conviction, Bowlden is required to forfeit his nursing license to the United States.

Bowlden was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams.  Judge Williams observed at Bowlden’s sentencing hearing that Bowlden’s conduct with respect to the 95-year-old resident was “highly aggravating” and an “egregious violation” of the trust placed in him as a licensed nurse.  Bowlden was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.  He must also serve a one-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

In 2016, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa was selected as one of 10 districts in the nation to form an Elder Justice Task Force ( The task force was assembled to foster a collaborative working relationship among all levels of government officials, advocacy groups for the elderly and the disabled, and others charged with the care and protection for these vulnerable groups. The goals include ensuring the integrity of all government expenditures by eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse in health programs, and protecting some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens from harm, whether it occurs in nursing homes or other institutions or involves financial fraud schemes. To learn more about the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, visit:

Bowlden was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and investigated by the Iowa Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 22-CR-2025.

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Updated November 7, 2022

Prescription Drugs