OAN’s Abril Elfi
12:39 AM – Wednesday, December 13, 2023
A former Atlanta Facebook global diversity executive has admitted to stealing over $4 million from the company.
On Tuesday, Barbara Furlow-Smiles pleaded guilty to stealing millions from the tech company through cash kickbacks, made-up charges, and fake vendors.
The lawsuit was brought forth by United States Attorney Ryan K. Buchana who said Furlow-Smiles “abused a position of trust.”
“This defendant abused a position of a 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. 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.”
Keri Farely, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, also agreed and said that Furlow-Smiles “used lies and deceit to defraud both vendors and Facebook employees.”
“The FBI works hard to make sure greed like this doesn’t pay off and those who commit fraud are held accountable,” she added.
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 also would 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.
Furlow-Smiles stole over $4 million in total, which she used to support her opulent lifestyle in Georgia and California.
On March 19th, 2024, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Grimberg will conduct the sentencing.
The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with significant support from Meta.
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