A former SNP MP has been convicted of embezzling nearly £25,000 from two organisations supporting Scottish independence.
Natalie McGarry, 41, took the money whilst acting as treasurer for Women for Independence (WFI) and the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP.
Her bank account showed funds coming in and, almost immediately, going out and being spent on rent, shopping and a holiday to Spain.
Some of the embezzled cash included donations intended for a food bank.
McGarry, who represented Glasgow East between 2015 and 2017, embezzled £21,000 whilst she was treasurer for WFI between 2013 and 2015.
She took £4,661 whilst she was treasurer, secretary and convenor of Glasgow Regional Association (GRA) of the SNP and was convicted of two charges of embezzlement at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
McGarry became treasurer of WFI in 2012 whose PayPal funds entered her personal bank account.
The jury was shown a bank statement in which McGarry’s personal account had a balance of £10.74 – later topped up by a PayPal transfer of £1,700 and a £1,000 rent payment was then seen to come off the account the following day.
WFI also footed the bill for part of a five-year loan of £5,000 as well as purchases in Tesco, Asda and from Just Eat.
McGarry had also gone on holiday with her partner to Spain with another couple.
‘She made a fortune’
During the trial, her constituency office manager Rachel Mackie recalled: “She made a fortune, she was on a good salary and her partner was a councillor, she would be in the office complaining about being skint all the time.”
Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf gave evidence that he had loaned Ms McGarry £600 after he’d overheard a conversation that she was going to be evicted.
Mr Yousaf said: “I offered to give her a loan of funds about the £600 mark from the bank across the road.
“I made the transaction and the money was returned roughly in the timescale.”
The court heard that McGarry failed to pay charity Positive Prisons Positive Futures £360 from a WFI bucket collection.
A similar collection for a Perth foodbank was not handed over.
McGarry ‘overwhelmed’ by ‘donkey work’
McGarry’s house was raided by police officers in May 2016 where a warrant was read through a door, whilst she “took refuge” in her bathroom.
She denied any wrongdoing during her six days of evidence, stating that she was “overwhelmed” by doing the “donkey work” for WFI.
She sobbed in the witness box when she said: “It’s been the most hellish experience I can possibly imagine.
“Having my whole life ripped apart when I hadn’t done anything wrong.”
McGarry, who made no reaction when the verdict was read out, was joined by her family in court.
Sentencing was deferred pending background reports until next month and McGarry had her bail continued.
She had an earlier conviction for the same embezzlement charge quashed by appeal judges in 2019 after they ruled she had been subject to a miscarriage of justice.