Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry jailed for two years for embezzling almost £25,000 | Politics News

Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry has been jailed for two years after being found guilty of embezzling almost £25,000 from two pro-independence groups.

McGarry, 40, who represented the Glasgow East constituency between 2015 and 2017, was convicted of two charges following a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Back in May, she was found to have embezzled £19,974 while she was treasurer of Women for Independence (WFI) between 26 April 2013 and 30 November 2015.

In addition, a jury found she embezzled a further £4,661 between 9 April 2014 and 10 August 2015 when she was treasurer, secretary, and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association (GRA) of the SNP.

On both charges, she was found guilty by majority.

Sheriff Tom Hughes sentenced her to two years in jail when she returned to Glasgow Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Sentencing McGarry, Sheriff Hughes said she had betrayed people who put their trust in her and that a custodial sentence was inevitable.

“It’s quite clear that society has a right to expect the highest standards from those who seek and eventually achieve high public office,” he told the former SNP MP.

He added: “Through your role in these offences, you have not only betrayed the trust placed in you by others, but your standards have fallen well short of those the public should have a right to expect from MPs.”

In the trial which lasted six weeks, the court heard from dozens of witnesses including Scotland’s former health secretary Jeane Freeman, who said she reported McGarry after noticing a significant shortfall in WFI accounts.

Ms Freeman 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.

The court was shown McGarry’s bank records, which showed Crowdfunder donations from WFI being transferred to her own personal account.

They included transfers of £10,472.52 on 29 April 2014 and a further £9,848.70 on 12 November 2014 – which she used to pay for rent and shopping.

McGarry had argued these were “legitimate” expenses which she had incurred and which she was reimbursing herself for.

Current Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf also told of how he gave McGarry £600 to prevent her from being evicted from her house.

McGarry resigned the party whip after the emergence of fraud allegations, which she denied.

She did not seek re-election as an independent candidate in 2017.

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