TAMPA, Fla. - A former Tampa Police Department sergeant will serve nearly three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to her involvement in a tax refund fraud scheme, federal prosecutors said.
LaJoyce Caldwell Houston, 51, of Riverview, must also pay $61,660.52 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service after serving her two year, nine month sentence.
Houston received $284,490.41 in goods, services, money orders and cash purchased with debit cards tied to accounts funded by fraudulently obtained tax returns filed by Rita Girven, prosecutors said.
Houston was fired from the department in 2013 for allegedly using Girven's food stamp card, according to our news partners at the Tampa Bay Times. Girven was a police informer at the time.
Houston's husband, Eric, a former Tampa police detective, was fired a year later for his involvement in the tax refund scheme. He was sentenced to six months in prison for receiving stolen government property and was ordered to pay $39,000 in restitution.
Girven is currently serving 12 years in federal prison for her involvement.