Former TPD sergeant gets 3 years for fraud

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Prosecutors call Lajoyce Houston a criminal in a cop uniform.

The disgraced Tampa police sergeant pled guilty to tax fraud charges and Wednesday she learned how long she will spend in jail – three years.

The judge saying he felt Houston wasn’t remorseful for what she did.

Houston accidentally jumped into the wrong car trying to avoid the media after her sentencing.

She pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving stolen government property in a tax fraud scheme that involved her husband, former Tampa police detective Eric Houston.

LINK: Former TPD detective making plea deal in tax fraud case

He was recently sentenced to six months in prison.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan had plenty to say to the judge.

"I just told the judge what Eric did was a tarnish, it's a breach of trust with the public," said Dugan.

The government says the Houstons developed a cozy relationship with career criminal Rita Girven.

For years, Girven was a Tampa Police Department confidential informant who bragged in jail about her cop connections.

"They would give me money, they would pay a bill,  they'll help me pay rent,  they'll do whatever they could to keep me from getting in trouble," said Girven.

Investigators say the Houstons used a police database to steal people's identities and Girven used the information to file phony tax returns.

Prosecutors say the Houstons used the stolen money to go shopping; to buy laptops, designer handbags, and pay off credit cards bills.

But during her sentencing, Lajoyce Houston denied making any of the purchases.

Lajoyce apologized to Assistant Police Chief Marc Hamilton in the courtroom.  But the judge said he felt she was just making excuses and wasn't really remorseful.

"I don't know if it was a sincere apology I think it was for the judge not for me," said Hamilton. "I can tell you that she has tainted all the hard work and integrity of the Tampa Police Department we get our authority from the public due to our integrity and when something like this happens it hurts us all the way around."