Ex-minister Denis MacShane faces six months behind bars after being jailed for fake expenses claims.
The former Labour MP, who pleaded guilty to false accounting with 19 bogus receipts for 'research and translation' purposes, could have received up to seven years imprisonment under the Theft Act 1968.
He created a false identity for the company he charged the expenses from - and deliberately misspelt his own name to improve the authenticity of the claims.
But he had been expected to escape with just three months, meaning his six-month tariff is likely to come as a grim setback for the ex-Europe minister.
The judge said he had "deliberately created misleading and deceptive invoices", enabling him to fund trips to Europe including one journey to Paris to take part in a book-judging panel.
MacShane said "cheers" when the sentence was handed down before adding: "Quelle surprise."
He quit parliament in November 2012 ahead of the scandal, which focused on claims made between January 2005 and January 2008 totalling £12,900.
His defence included a series of impressive character references, including one from Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman telling the court she had "never known him to be duplicitous, financially greedy, or deceptive".
MacShane was described by another reference as "A cutter of corners, yes, a cavalier crusader, yes, but a self-centred and greedy crook, certainly not".
He served as Europe minister under Tony Blair from 2002 until 2005.
Parliament's standards and privileges committee found his case was "the gravest... that has come to us for adjudication".