Jim Repetto, Ocean Spray Cranberry Thief Once Thought to be Lost at Sea, Gets Five Years in Prison

Ocean Spray Cranberries thief James Repetto probably wishes he was still "lost at sea."

Repetto was in a Massachusettes federal court this morning where he was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than $1 million from the cranberry juice giant through a mail-fraud scam -- which is a fairly boring story. It's what Repetto did after he was convicted that makes his tale one worth telling.

Repetto, 53, was wanted on a federal warrant after pleading guilty in October of last year to ripping off Ocean Spray to the tune of $1.3 million through a mail fraud scam.

In March, while awaiting sentencing -- knowing he faced the possibility of prison time -- Repetto decided to go for a swim/fake his own death near La Jolla, California. A friend reported him missing later that day, resulting in a massive search effort by the U.S. Coast Guard and San Diego lifeguards.

See our story on Repetto's disappearance here.

At the time, Andrew Good, Repetto's attorney in Boston, told San Diego's 10News that "all I can say is he's my client, we were getting ready for sentencing, and now it appears he has committed suicide.

Nope. While the search for Repetto in the ocean eventually was called off, authorities continued to search for him on land, specifically at the home of one of his associates living in Yuma, which is where he was found -- alive and dry -- a few days later.

Repetto, it seems, was en route to Mexico, where he reportedly told a friend he knew of places a person could go to disappear.

Before his sentencing, the Associated Press reports, Repetto apologized to his family, friends, and Ocean Spray employees. 


An Ocean Spray vice president called Repetto's actions "unfathomable."

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James King
Contact: James King