‘ Embezzled cash’ spent by ex- SNP MP on Spain trip and rent shortfall
A former SNP MP owed thousands of pounds in rent when she embezzled money from pro- independence groups, a court has heard.
Natalie Mcgarry spent money she embezzled – more than £ 25,600 – on rent, a holiday to Spain with her husband, transfers of money to him and other lifestyle spending, Glasgow Sheriff Court was told.
Mcgarry, 37, pleaded guilty to two charges of embezzlement when she appeared at the court on 24 April.
Her attempt to withdraw the guilty pleas at a later hearing was refused by Sheriff Paul Crozier. However, her lawyer Allan Macleod said there were several “factual inaccuracies” in the narrative read to the court yesterday.
Mcgarry embezzled £ 21,000 from Women for Independence ( WFI) in her role as treasurer of the organisation.
S h e t r a n s f e r r e d mone y raised through fundraising events into her personal bank accounts.
Mcgarry also failed to transfer charitable donations to Perth and Kinross food bank and to Positive Prison, Positive Future between 26 April 2013 and 30 November 2015.
Fiscal depute Gerard Drugan told the court that between 2012 and August 2013, Mcgarry was £ 3,750 behind in rent arrears and in September 2013 she was asked to pay £ 1,000 a month until the rent was repaid in full.
Mr Drugan said: “Ms Mcgarry continued to have money problems and i n Februar y 2014 she met Humza Yousaf [ now justice secretar y] and told him she had been unable to pay her rent.
“He transferred £ 600 from his bank account t o hers, which she later repaid.”
The court heard Mcgarry gave her bank details for the Our Voice crowdfunding initiative, which raised £ 10,472.
That money was deposited into her bank account in April 2014 and was spent by early June – some of it legitimately and some of it for rent and other lifestyle spending. The court also heard £ 750 raised for Perth and Kinross food bank, which would have provided food for 30 families, never reached the organisation.
Mcgarry used some of the money she had embezzled to go on a week- long holiday to Spain with her husband that was paid for with his Barclaycard, on t o which she had transferred some WFI money.
The former MP, who represented Glasgow East and did not seek re- election in 2017, a l s o used c heques drawn on the WFI bank account to deposit money into her own account.
Mcgar r y a l s o a d mi t t e d embezzling £ 4,661.02 in the course of her role as treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between 9 April 2014 and 10 August 2015.
Mr Macleod, representing Mcgarry, said: “The accused’s position is still and remains that she did not commit these crimes.”
0 Natalie Mcgarry pled guilty to two charges of embezzlement but later tried to withdraw the plea