Former London Mayor Joe Fontana began the first full day of his sentence - four months of house arrest followed by 18 months probation - on Wednesday.

Fontana was sentenced on Tuesday after being found guilty of fraud, breach of trust and uttering forged documents last month.

Despite anger from many who felt Fontana should spend time behind bars, Gord Cudmore, Fontana's lawyer, says the sentence of house arrest is no get-out-of-jail-free card, but "I think we were relieved."

The Fontana home in a well-to-do Arva neighbourhood is where the former mayor and federal MP will spend the next four months.

Under the terms of the sentence, Fontana cannot leave the property except for medical or legal appointments, to attend church or with special permission from his supervisory officer.

He will not be under direct supervision though and does not have to wear an ankle bracelet.

He cannot buy or consume alcohol or drugs, but there are no restrictions on visitors or who the first-time offender can associate with.

Cudmore adds "I think people take for granted the fact that we have freedom and liberty to move about as we wish, so that when that's taken away, which has been done for four months, that's a severe penalty. So I think people shouldn't look at conditional sentences or house arrest as a slap on the wrist."

Following the four month term Fontana will be on probation for 18 months.

Generally judges will only give house arrest to an offender who poses little threat to the community.

And lawyer Fred Tranquilli says judges hand down conditional sentences where there is no minimum sentence.

"Jail is not a good place to be, it's a very dangerous place...The reality is that person is sitting at home always knowing that they could end up in jail if they leave their house without good reason, if they're found violating those conditions without a good reason. So the threat of jail is still there until the end of that conditional sentence arrives."

After his house arrest, Fontana must perform 150 hours of community service during his 18 month probation, which Cudmore says will be done through a registered charity.