Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry JAILED for two years for embezzling £25k from pro-independence groups | The Sun
NATALIE McGarry has been jailed for two years after found guilty of embezzling almost £25,000 from pro-independence groups.
The former SNP MP, 40, was convicted of two charges of embezzlement in May following a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court last month.
A jury found her guilty by majority of a charge of embezzling £19,974 while she was treasurer of Women for Independence (WFI) between April 26, 2013 and November 30, 2015.
She was also found guilty by majority of a second charge of taking £4,661 between April 9, 2014 and August 10, 2015 when she was treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP.
Jailing her today, sheriff Tom Hughes stated: "It’s quite clear that society expects the highest standards for those who seek and achieve high public office.
"You were a role model for aspiring politicians and you became an MP.
"By your involvement in these offences, you have not only betrayed the trust placed in you by others but your standards have fallen well short of what the public have the right to expect from politicians and MPs.
"Because the serious nature of the offences, a prison sentence is unfortunately necessary as no other sentence is appropriate.
"The sentence has to reflect the serious nature of the offences and the prolonged period over they took place and your blatant breach of trust placed in you by others."
McGarry showed no emotion after she was led to the cells.
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The six-week trial heard evidence from several witnesses, including current and former Scottish health secretaries Humza Yousaf and Jeane Freeman.
Ms Freeman, reported McGarry after noticing a significant shortfall in WFI accounts.
And said she had no idea donations made to the group's independence Crowdfunder were going from the organisation's PayPal account into McGarry's personal bank account.
She also voiced her frustrations at McGarry's delay in handing over receipts and invoices which would show what the funds had been spent on.
The court also heard from witnesses that McGarry had personal financial difficulties and regularly received loans from family and friends.
That included from Humza Yousaf who gave McGarry £600 to prevent her from being evicted from her house.
The court also saw McGarry's bank records, which showed Crowdfunder donations from WFI being transferred to her own personal account.
It included £10,472.52 on April 29, 2014 and a further £9,848.70 on November 12, 2014 – which she used to pay for rent and shopping.
McGarry had said these were "legitimate" expenses which she had incurred and which she was reimbursing herself for.
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The 40-year-old was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip after the emergence of fraud allegations – which she denied.
She continued in Parliament as an independent MP representing Glasgow East but did not seek re-election in 2017.
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