Peter Skinner, 56, MEP for Labour south -east also funded hotel stays, splashed out on gourmet meals and bought expensive jewellery with the £480,000 he claimed as a Parliamentary Assistance Allowance (PAA).
The politician, who represented the south east of England in the European Parliament, claimed he was confused over the rules and blamed a lack of information given to him.
But today a jury at Southwark Crown Court took just over 11 hours to find him guilty of one count of making a false instrument, one count of fraud and one count of false accounting.
He was cleared of one count of making a false instrument in relation to a form submitted to the parliament in 2006.
Mrs Justice Maura McGowan adjourned sentence but told Skinner: “You have been convicted of extremely serious offences and you will know, no doubt, from the knowledge you have of what has happened to your colleagues in a similar situation that an immediate prison sentence is almost inevitable.”
Skinner was a Labour MEP from 1999 until he was replaced by Anneliese Dodds in 2014 and the charges relate to expense claims between 2004 and 2009.
Prosecutor Jonathan Davies said Skinner not only falsified documents but gave untrue information in a “calculated and dishonest” bid to justify the claims for PAA.
As an MEP he was entitled to claim PAA to cover the costs of any assistants he employed, but an investigation revealed he used the claims for “personal expenditure”.
Mr Davies said money twice went into Skinner’s personal account before he flew off to the United States.
He said: “On each occasion the payment was made shortly before a trip to the US and was spent on hotels, restaurants, shops, clothes and jewellery – improper use, we say, of PAA.”
Skinner also made payments totalling £10,000 to his ex-wife Julie after their divorce, long after she stopped working for him, as well as handing cash to other family members.
Mr Davies told the court: “he diverted PAA to his ex-wife following their divorce so that he did not have to foot the cost personally, payments of a personal nature to his father when his mother was ill and he made payments to his own personal bank accounts"
Part of the cash also went towards the £1,900 repair of a gearbox on a Land Rover Discovery.
Skinner claimed one of his employees, Karen Forbes, invoiced him for £122,178 in 2005 when she was in fact working for Tesco for most of that year and only provided part-time bookkeeping services.
But he wascleared of forging a signature on a regularisation form submitted to the parliament in 2006.
One of Skinner’s former researchers alerted police after discovering a document showing money had been paid to the MEP’s father for work he believed had been done by someone else.
Mr Davies said: “The document seemed to show that Mr Skinner had engaged his father William Skinner to provide research and a communication strategy for him for a period of one year and for a fee of £5,000 every three months.
“The former researcher was unaware of any such work which had been done by Mr Skinner’s father – he knew that someone else had done that work.
Skinner claimed in an interview the money in his account was being set aside as a “redundancy reserve” in order to protect his staff if they were to find themselves suddenly out of a job.
Skinner, of Snodland, Kent, was bailed ahead of sentence on April 29.