Ex-DEI Manager At Facebook And Nike Sentenced For Multi-Million Dollar Fraud

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A picture taken on May 14, 2012 in Paris, shows an illustration made with a figurine set up in front of Facebook's homepage. Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public later this month, now must convince investors in the next two weeks that it is worth all the hype. Top executives at the world's leading social network have kicked off their all-important road show on Wall Street -- an intense marketing drive ahead of the company's expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18. AFP PHOTO/JOEL SAGET (Photo by Joël SAGET / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
A picture taken on May 14, 2012 in Paris, shows an illustration made with a figurine set up in front of Facebook’s homepage (Photo by Joël SAGET / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
1:19 PM – Tuesday, May 14, 2024

A former Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) manager at Facebook and Nike has been sentenced for wire fraud worth over $5 million.

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Barbara Furlow-Smiles, 38, had previously pleaded guilty in December of 2023 to stealing millions from the tech company through cash kickbacks, made-up charges, and fake vendors. 

The United States Attorney’s Office released a press release on Monday. It states that Furlow-Smiles must now also “pay restitution in the amount of $4,981,783.58 to Facebook and $121,054.50 to Nike, for a total of $5,102,838.08.” 

According to the lawsuit, the defendant linked her Facebook (now Meta) credit cards to Paypal, Venmo, and Cash App accounts and used them to pay her friends or associates for services that were not related to Facebook.

Reportedly, to cover her scheme, she would submit fake reports. 

Furlow-Smiles would also have Facebook-onboard vendors owned by friends and associates. 

She instructed the vendors to return a portion of the money to her after approving the contracts and invoices. 

Friends, relatives, past interns, nannies, babysitters, a hair stylist, and her university tutor were among the people who were enlisted. Furlow-Smiles, for instance, forced Facebook to pay a preschool tuition of more than $18,000 and an artist close to $10,000 for specialty portraits.

Prosecutors claim that Furlow-Smiles engaged in similar frauds while working as a senior DEI director at Nike from November to February 2023, following her termination from Facebook. Furlow-Smiles, who was in charge of a Juneteenth event sponsored by Nike in New York, “circumvented the vendor process” by connecting her PayPal and Venmo accounts to her Nike credit card. Prosecutors said that she then paid associates using those accounts, falsely claimed they were for the event, and accepted bribes.

“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,” the press release reads in part. “She used the money to fund a luxury lifestyle in California, Georgia, and Oregon.”

Furlow-Smiles has been sentenced to 63-months in jail on top of the restitution payments, and she remains under supervision until she begins serving her time on July 22nd

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