Vincent Fumo was convicted of defrauding the state Senate, a neighborhood nonprofit and museum of millions.
The Philadelphia Democrat faced about 20 years under federal guidelines at his 2009 sentencing, but a judge initially sentenced Fumo to 4½ years.
A federal appeals court threw out the sentence.
The defense asked for a break based on the 68-year-old Fumo's age and health problems.
Prosecutors sought a guideline sentence of at least 17 years. They say prison emails show he is preparing to leave prison and exact revenge.
Fumo told the judge Thursday that he was not alone in using his senate staff for personal and political chores. He says the practice was "institutionalized" in the Pennsylvania Senate.