Ex-Facebook And Nike DEI Manager Sentenced To Federal Prison for Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme

by Gee NY

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a former diversity program manager at Facebook and Nike, has been sentenced to federal prison for orchestrating multi-million dollar fraud schemes at both companies.

The 38-year-old admitted to embezzling $5 million through fraudulent activities during her tenure at the two corporations, according to Fox Business.

“Furlow-Smiles shamelessly violated her position of trust as a DEI executive at Facebook to steal millions from the company utilizing a scheme involving fraudulent vendors, fake invoices, and cash kickbacks,” stated U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.

Between January 2017 and September 2021, Furlow-Smiles led DEI programs at Facebook, where her role included developing and implementing diversity initiatives.

Prosecutors revealed that she secretly diverted company funds to her personal PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App accounts, using the money to pay friends, family members, former interns, childcare providers, a stylist, and others for services never rendered to Facebook.

After her termination from Facebook, Furlow-Smiles joined Nike as a DEI senior director from November 2021 to February 2023, where she continued her fraudulent activities.

“She stole another six-figure sum from their diversity program,” Buchanan said. “Her prison sentence reflects the consequences of orchestrating an intricate scheme to defraud two employers for personal profit.”

Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, condemned Furlow-Smiles’ actions, saying:

“She not only threw away a lucrative career but will serve time behind bars for her excessive greed.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia announced that Furlow-Smiles will serve five years and three months in prison.

She has also been ordered to pay restitution of $4,981,783.58 to Meta-owned Facebook and $121,054.50 to Nike.

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