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COURIER OPINION: Questions for crowdfunders after Natalie McGarry guilty verdict

Former MP Natalie McGarry was found guilty of embezzling money from pro-independence groups. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.
Former MP Natalie McGarry was found guilty of embezzling money from pro-independence groups. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

There are no winners in the Natalie McGarry trial.

The former politician is facing jail after she was found guilty of embezzling nearly £25,000 from two pro-Scottish independence groups.

It’s a sorry conclusion to an episode which has hung over her for seven years.

In that time it has destroyed her political career and taken a heavy toll on her personal life.

And what of the organisations she took the cash from?

People donated in good faith to a cause they care passionately about.

The jury who found Natalie McGarry guilty heard some of the money she misused had been raised through crowdfunding.

Guilty: former SNP MP Natalie McGarry went on to sit as an independent for Glasgow East. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

The crowdfunding model is not as tightly regulated as traditional charities. It depends on large numbers of people giving small amounts of money.

Many will now be wondering if their hard-earned cash went to fund McGarry’s rent, or her holiday to Spain, instead of promoting Scottish independence.

A sheriff will decide the fate of the former MP, once tipped as a rising star in the SNP.

Public confidence will determine the success of future crowdfunding ventures.

But the McGarry conviction is a reminder to those who administer such funds that they must act with the utmost propriety – or risk paying a terrible price.

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