A former social media executive has pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars during her time with the company.
According to The Daily Caller, Barbara Furlow-Smiles —a former global diversity executive at Facebook— stole more than $4 million from the company through kickbacks and credit cards. The former Facebook executive linked Facebook’s corporate credit cards to several various Venmo, PayPal and CashApp accounts. She used those accounts to make purchases of goods and services that Facebook did not receive.
NEW: Former Facebook diversity manager Barbara Furlow-Smiles who headed Facebook's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) programs has pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme where she raked in $4,000,000.
How equitable of her!
According to the Department of Justice, Furlow-Smiles… pic.twitter.com/NW3zrdYc7p
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 13, 2023
Furlow-Smiles, who served as Facebook’s Lead Strategist and Global Head of Employee Resource Groups and Diversity Engagement, spent $10,000 on specialty portraits and another $18,000 for preschool tuition. Furlow-Smiles is also accused of receiving kickbacks in cash from Facebook vendors controlled by friends and connections.
Ex-Facebook diversity manager Barbara Furlow-Smiles just plead guilty to stealing $4 million dollars from them.
After she had stolen the money and left her job, she started a business selling bedazzled covid faceshields, referring to herself as a "marketing genius".
I guess… pic.twitter.com/Ts5AxVq38a
— Expose Them (@ExposeDarkDeeds) December 14, 2023
“This defendant misused a position of trust as a global diversity executive for Facebook to defraud the company of millions of dollars, ignoring the insidious consequences of undermining the importance of her DEI mission,” U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in a statement. “Motivated by greed, she used her time to orchestrate an elaborate criminal scheme in which fraudulent vendors paid her kickbacks in cash. She even involved relatives, friends, and other associates in her crimes, all to fund a lavish lifestyle through fraud rather than hard and honest work.
Her name is Barbara Furlow–Smiles; she’s a DEI manager who is headed to prison for defrauding Meta of $4 million. I can’t get over the fact that her last name is the homophone of “furlough”. Spelman College, her alma mater, has wiped its recent story which highlighted her book. https://t.co/aWZ8IJz5jl
— Jonathan Bowen (@BostonByBirth) December 13, 2023
Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said Furlow-Smiles used lies and deceit to defraud vendors and Facebook.
“Furlow-Smiles used lies and deceit to defraud both vendors and Facebook employees,” said Farley.“The FBI works hard to make sure greed like this doesn’t pay off and those who commit fraud are held accountable.”
Furlow-Smiles led the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs at Facebook between 2017 to 2021. She was responsible for developing and executing DEI initiatives, operations, and engagement programs. Her position at the company gave her access to company credit cards. She was also in charge of purchase requisitions and approving invoices for authorized vendors of Facebook.
Furlow-Smiles sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 19, 2024.