(StraightNews.org) – While serving as an executive at Facebook, a woman in Atlanta admitted to stealing over $4 million from the company.
Barbara Furlow-Smiles was employed by Facebook, Inc. (now called Meta) from approximately January 2017 to September 2021 in various roles such as lead strategist, global head of employee resource groups, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
Prosecutors claim that Furlow-Smiles had access to business credit cards during that time and could make purchase requests and review invoices from suppliers approved by Facebook. Furlow-Smiles, according to U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan’s statement, “insidiously neglected the value of her DEI purpose” and exploited her position of trust at the corporation.
Furlow-Smiles allegedly paid friends, family, and acquaintances using PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App under the auspices of having them provide Facebook with goods and services. The business did not get any services or commodities from these people.
She falsely claimed that her associates or their businesses had worked on Facebook programs and events, such as providing swag or marketing services.
Most of the funds were returned to Furlow-Smiles once these colleagues got compensation from Facebook. They sent money or paid with cash to accounts owned by her husband and others to cover these kickbacks. Kickbacks were provided to associates in cash, either in person or by Federal Express or regular mail. Sometimes, the cash would be wrapped in other things, including T-shirts. Furlow-Smiles ordered her accomplices to pay each other or others she owed money to to cover her tracks even further.
As part of the operation, Furlow-Smiles enlisted the help of many people who would subsequently get payments or pay kickbacks. Friends, family, nannies, babysitters, a hairdresser, her university instructor, and former interns from her previous employment were among these people. In addition to facilitating payments to those who did not pay kickbacks, she utilized Facebook to her advantage.
Furlow-Smiles also set up a pay-to-play operation. She was responsible for Facebook onboarding other suppliers. She used friends or acquaintances who were required to give her bribes.
Furlow-Smiles embezzled almost $4 million from Facebook by creating false charges and sending fake invoices for never-performed services. She lavished herself in California and Georgia with the cash.
March 19, 2024, is the date set for her sentencing.
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