Tampa, Florida — A Tampa Police Department Officer has been arrested and fired from her job. LaJoyce Houston, 47, was a sergeant with TPD.
Also arrested was Rita Girven, 31, of Tampa, of whom was already in the Hillsborough County Jail on other charges.
Both women were under investigation for Welfare Fraud for nearly nine weeks. Detectives say jail conversations between Houston and Girven were recorded during the nine week period, and Houston spoke with Girven 35 times. During one of the conversations, Girven told Houston she could use her EBT Food Stamp card and where to find it.
After obtaining the EBT card, Houston purchased $365 in groceries from a Walmart. Houston then gave the card to a family member who also made unauthorized purchases. The family member paid Houston .50 on the dollar. Houston would then place that money into Girven’s jail canteen account.
Girven has an extensive criminal record, which includes 49 felony charges.
Houston is married to a Tampa Police Detective, however TPD says they do not believe the detective was involved. Internal Affairs said they will be conducting a thorough investigation.