High Life To Hard Time: Former Facebook DEI Manager’s Scam Unfolds Before Our Eyes

By Maria Angelino | Tuesday, 14 May 2024 12:00 PM
1
Views 2.6K
Image Credit : OAN News Network

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a former Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) manager at Facebook and Nike, has been sentenced to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release for wire fraud exceeding $5 million, according to federal prosecutors.

The 38-year-old resident of Marietta, Georgia, was reportedly involved in a complex scheme that included fraudulent vendors, fictitious paperwork, and cash kickbacks.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia announced in a press release that Furlow-Smiles is also required to pay restitution totaling $5,102,838.08. This includes $4,981,783.58 to Facebook and $121,054.50 to Nike.

Furlow-Smiles held a DEI position at Facebook, now known as Meta, from January 2017 to September 2021. This role granted her access to company credit cards, which she allegedly linked to her PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp accounts. Prosecutors claim she used these accounts to pay friends, relatives, and other associates for goods and services that Facebook never received.

 WATCH: DANA WHITE CALLING TRUMP 'THE MOST RESILIENT HUMAN EVER'bell_image

The press release also stated that Furlow-Smiles created fraudulent expense reports and invoices for these nonexistent goods and services. When Facebook made payments, she allegedly received kickbacks from the individuals involved, often in cash. She reportedly recruited a diverse group of individuals, including friends, relatives, former interns, nannies, babysitters, a hair stylist, and her university tutor, into her scheme.

 HEART-POUNDING MICHIGAN RALLY: VANCE AND TRUMP MAKE HUGE EMOTIONAL RETURN AFTER ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTbell_image

Following her departure from Facebook, Furlow-Smiles continued her fraudulent activities at Nike, where she served as a senior DEI director from November to February 2023. As the person responsible for a Nike-sponsored Juneteenth event in New York, she allegedly bypassed the vendor process by linking her Nike credit card to her PayPal and Venmo accounts. Prosecutors claim she used these accounts to pay associates, fraudulently claiming the payments were for the event, and received kickbacks.

 MICROSOFT'S GLOBAL IT MELTDOWN PUTS CANCER PATIENT'S LIFE-SAVING SURGERY ON HOLDbell_image

The press release stated, "In total, Furlow-Smiles stole more than $4.9 million from Facebook and over $120,000 from Nike based on fictitious charges and fraudulent invoices." She reportedly used the stolen funds to maintain a luxurious lifestyle in California, Georgia, and Oregon.

 WATCH WHOOPI UPSET OVER TRUMP'S GRANDDAUGHTER'S SPEECHbell_image

Furlow-Smiles was convicted on December 11, 2023, after pleading guilty. Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Atlanta, commented on the case, stating that Furlow-Smiles acted as if she was "untouchable," resulting in not only the loss of a lucrative career but also a prison sentence for her "excessive greed."

X