LARGO — Former physician James Zebranek was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison following his conviction for multiple crimes related to the theft of $800,000 from a family trust.
Zebranek withdrew about $800,000 from the trust account and transferred it to a Panama bank, later claiming he intended to make investments on behalf of his aging father, a retired physician in his 80s who was living in Redington Shores.
Assistant State Attorney Rene Bauer had argued in court papers that the lowest permissible sentence was more than 38 years in prison.
But defense attorney Peter Sartes argued that the judge had legal authority to give Zebranek a shorter term. He said such a long sentence was disproportionate compared to other crimes, and said Zebranek's father had indicated he didn't want his son to die in prison.
Zebranek is 58. After his release from prison, he also must serve 10 years probation.