Barbara Furlow-Smiles: Former Facebook Executive Admits She Embezzled $4 Million From Company

by Gee NY

In a shocking revelation, Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a former global diversity executive at Meta’s Facebook, has admitted to embezzling over $4 million from the tech giant.

She allegedly embezzled the funds through an intricate scheme involving fabricated vendor information, fictitious charges, and substantial cash kickbacks.

The charges were filed by U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan, and the FBI is currently investigating the disgraced executive, according to reports.

Furlow-Smiles, once a trusted figure in the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, exploited her high-ranking position to orchestrate a complex criminal scheme, undermining the very mission she was entrusted to uphold.

“This defendant abused 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,” said Buchanan. “Motivated by greed, she used her time to orchestrate an elaborate criminal scheme in which fraudulent vendors paid her kickbacks in cash.”

According to the Department of Justice, Furlow-Smiles linked her Facebook-issued credit cards to popular payment platforms like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App.

She allegedly used these accounts to transfer ill-gotten funds to associates, who claimed ignorance about the illicit origin of the money. Recipients were then instructed to return significant portions to Furlow-Smiles, often in cash or through third-party accounts.

In addition to her deceptive financial practices, Furlow-Smiles exploited her role to benefit personal connections.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles and Ernest Smiles (Credit: Nyachengos & Jacob Chisvo)

She recommended vendors with whom she had familial or friendly ties, approving inflated contracts and demanding kickbacks. The DOJ detailed instances where she secured payments for non-work-related expenses, including $10,000 for portraits and $18,000 for preschool tuition.

Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, emphasized the commitment to holding individuals accountable for fraudulent activities, stating:

“The FBI works hard to make sure greed like this doesn’t pay off and those who commit fraud are held accountable.”

Furlow-Smiles is scheduled for sentencing on March 19, 2024.

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