A Tampa police homicide detective has been placed on administrative duty because he’s being investigated.
Tampa police homicide Detective Eric Houston was placed on administrative duty on April 3. The agency won’t comment on the allegations for which Houston is being investigated, nor who is doing the investigating.
Last year, Tampa police arrested and fired Houston’s wife, La Joyce Houston, who was a sergeant with the police department. She was charged with two counts of welfare fraud and one count of grant theft.
At the time of La Joyce Houston’s arrest and firing, police Chief Jane Castor said it appeared that Det. Eric Houston wasn’t aware of his wife’s criminal activity.
The case against La Joyce Houston began last summer when police were investigating Rita Girven, who was in the Hillsborough County jail. Girven was recorded on a call telling Houston where to find her food stamp card. Houston later used the food stamp card to buy $365 worth of food at a Gibsonton Walmart.
Houston then gave the card to a family member to make more unauthorized purchases. That relative paid Houston 50 cents on the dollar for the food stamp money, and Houston put that money into Girven’s jail fund, investigators said.
The Houstons and Girven have long known each other. The Houstons have had custody of Girven’s daughter since she was born. They legally adopted her in 2009.