Newport News commercial fisherman pleads guilty to tax evasion


Date: February 1, 2023


Newport News, VA — A Newport News man pleaded guilty today to evading his federal income taxes.

According to court documents, Eric Bautista, from approximately January 2017 through December 2020, Bautista worked and earned income as an independent contractor for various commercial fishing companies in the Hampton Roads region and elsewhere. He was paid over $500,000 for his work during this time. Bautista failed to file U.S. Individual income tax returns for tax years 2012 through 2020. He was levied by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but took steps to evade his income taxes, including working under a stolen identity and dealing heavily in cash. For the years 2012 through 2020, Bautista owed a tax debt of over $170,000.

Bautista pleaded guilty to evasion of income taxed and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Darrell J. Waldon, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Washington D.C. Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian J. Samuels is prosecuting the case.