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Coast Guard suspends search for lost swimmer off La Jolla [Updated]

February 27, 2011 |  5:21 pm

After searching a total of 19 hours, the Coast Guard has suspended the search for a swimmer who was reported missing Saturday off La Jolla.

Jim Repetto, 53, of Massachusetts was an hour overdue while swimming between the Scripps Pier and La Jolla Shores when friends reported him missing. The Coast  Guard, San Diego lifeguards and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department searched Saturday night; the search was resumed Sunday morning.

Active searching has been suspended, "pending any new developments," the Coast Guard announced.

[Updated, 6:30 p.m.: The case has now been turned over to the missing persons bureau of the San Diego Police Department. The move was taken after investigators interviewed friends and relatives of Repetto and discovered "disturbing" facts in his background.

Repetto was charged with mail fraud, fraud, false statements and attempted intimidation of a witness in a fraudulent billing scheme that allegedly cost the Ocean Spray Cranberries plant where he was the manager more than $1 million. A co-defendant pleaded guilty in September.

The scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston, involved padded invoices submitted to Ocean Spray for bins and pallet repair by a packaging firm owned by the co-defendant. Repetto received a kickback for every phony invoice that he approved, according to federal prosecutors.]

-- Tony Perry in San Diego