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."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.