A FINANCE worker who embezzled over £350,000 from the British Red Cross under the guise of sending money to former delegates and staff faces losing two houses to pay back the money she stole.

Mary Booth was “a trusted and valued” employee for 34 years, working at the charity’s London headquarters before their payroll department moved to Paisley.

But her £45,000-per-year salary was not enough for her and Booth, who retired with a full pension and lump sum, began secretly siphoning money off from the charity – and paying it into her own bank account – while working at the British Red Cross office in Smithhills Street.

She claimed she scammed the charity out of £359,551 so she could fund her online gambling habit after splitting from her husband.

Booth, who was payroll manager, admitted her guilt over the seven-year fraud in July and was jailed for 27 months at Paisley Sheriff Court in August.

Following her conviction, a Proceeds of Crime action was started against her to try to recover the sum she stole.

And last week, at the first Proceeds of Crime hearing in connection with the case, it emerged she may lose her two homes to pay back the cash.

Solicitor Stuart Munro, acting on behalf of the British Red Cross, told Sheriff Seith Ireland: “The British Red Cross began to take steps to seek to recover the sums taken from it.

“There is money in the bank, the accused has a property in Scotland and a property in England.

“There are various different steps ongoing in relation to the property in Scotland and the property in England. Steps are being taken to recover the money.

“Mrs Booth is required to co-operate if recovery can be made for the entire sum.”

Sheriff Ireland continued the case for 12 weeks to allow Booth’s solicitors to prepare the case further, with the next hearing scheduled for January.

Booth embezzled the cash between November 2008 and August 2015 at the British Red Cross office in Paisley and the charity’s base in Moorfields, London.

When jailed over her doomed scam, the court heard she may have to sell her £350,000 home in Croydon to pay back the cash.

Her lawyer said selling the house would free up £250,000 she could pay back, in addition to £64,000 she has in her bank account and a £10,000 car she owns.

But the existence of the Scottish property only came to light during last week’s hearing and it’s understood that the sale of the unspecified property would raise the rest of the money she would need to pay the £359,551 bill.

Booth siphoned off the money by making numerous payments to five people, including someone who didn’t even exist.