Former Tampa police sergeant pleads guilty in tax refund fraud scheme

TAMPA, Fla. - A former Tampa police sergeant faces up to 10 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, 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 will be sentenced in October.

Girven is currently serving 12 years in federal prison for her involvement.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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