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Ex-Facebook Diversity Chief Admits To Swindling Over $4 Million From Tech Giant

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Clear Facts

  • Former Facebook global diversity strategist, Barbara Furlow-Smiles, has pled guilty to stealing over $4 million from the company through a fraudulent scheme involving fake vendors, false charges, and cash kickbacks.
  • Furlow-Smiles led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs at Facebook from January 2017 to September 2021, during which she used her position to defraud the company.
  • She used her access to company credit cards and approval authority over invoices to pay friends, relatives, and others for nonexistent goods and services, hiding these transactions with fraudulent expense reports.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a 38-year-old former Facebook global diversity strategist, has pled guilty to wire fraud, confessing to stealing more than $4 million from the company.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta revealed that Furlow-Smiles executed an “elaborate scheme involving fraudulent vendors, fictitious charges, and cash kickbacks.”

From January 2017 to September 2021, Furlow-Smiles led Facebook’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs. As the lead strategist and global head of employee resource groups and diversity engagement, she was tasked with developing and executing DEI initiatives, operations, and engagement programs. Prosecutors pointed out that she used her position to “cheat and defraud the company.”

Furlow-Smiles had access to company credit cards and was able to approve invoices. She linked her Facebook credit cards to PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App accounts, and used these accounts to pay friends, relatives, and others for goods and services that were never delivered to Facebook.

To cover up these charges, Furlow-Smiles submitted fraudulent expense reports, falsely claiming that her friends had performed work for Facebook, such as providing swag or marketing. Those involved in the scheme then paid kickbacks to Furlow-Smiles, sometimes through accounts in her husband’s and other people’s names. The kickbacks were sometimes paid in cash in person, through the mail, or even hidden in a t-shirt.

Furlow-Smiles also manipulated Facebook into hiring vendors operated by her friends. She approved fraudulent and inflated invoices to pay these vendors, who then paid her kickbacks. The people involved in the scheme ranged from friends, relatives, former interns from a prior job, nannies and babysitters, to a hair stylist, and her university tutor.

The stolen funds were used to cover various personal expenses, including $10,000 to an artist for specialty portraits and over $18,000 for preschool tuition. Prosecutors stated that Furlow-Smiles used the stolen money to “live a luxury lifestyle in California and Georgia.”

Her sentencing is set for March 19. It remains unclear whether any of the other people involved in the scheme will face charges. Prosecutors noted that most of the people were not aware that the money was coming from Facebook.

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Meta, Facebook’s parent company, cooperated with the investigation, which is being conducted by the FBI. U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan criticized Furlow-Smiles for abusing her position of trust to defraud the company of millions of dollars.

He stated, “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.”

Clear Thoughts (op-ed)

Barbara Furlow-Smiles’ case exposes more than just a multi-million dollar theft.

It unveils a rot within the corporate culture of companies like Facebook, which prides itself on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives but fails to ensure transparency and accountability.

When a leader of DEI programs can defraud the company for years, it raises questions about the company’s internal controls.

Moreover, it reflects poorly on Facebook’s parent company, Meta, which didn’t detect this until millions had been siphoned off.

This episode should be a wake-up call to all companies: DEI initiatives are important, but they should never come at the expense of integrity and accountability.

This isn’t about one bad apple, but rather a symptom of a larger problem within corporate culture.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Roy B Crown

    December 14, 2023 at 6:49 pm

    why am I not surprised by this article? This crook should never be able to get out of jail except in a coffin..Also everyone whe ever received a penny of stolen money should rot in jail as well.This person did not earn any money , all she did was steal, and the people who gained money knew they were stealing as well. Laughing all the way to the bank. Throw away the key and let the bastards rot.

  2. EleanorRigby

    December 14, 2023 at 6:53 pm

    I’m not fr Boston, but think this is so wrong. It wppears to me that the extreme left has taken
    over important topics such as Christmas. This is the beginning of things to come. Very sad…..

  3. Ted

    December 14, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Obviously, a lack of good internal controls at Meta.

  4. Earnest T Bass

    December 14, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    These FREAKS AND WEIRDOS are ruining everything
    FUCK MACY’S

  5. Jeremy

    December 14, 2023 at 9:01 pm

    I guess it goes to show, you really do need a crook to run an effective DEI program. Especially when it only includes the people who agree with them.

  6. j turn

    December 15, 2023 at 12:58 am

    Lock her up !!!

  7. JUSTICE

    December 15, 2023 at 3:08 am

    JUST TELL US THAT SHE WILL BE SERVING TIME IN PRISON FOR HER CRIME AND THAT SHE HAS TO REPAY ALL THE MONEY STOLEN.OTHERWISE THIS IS JUST ANOTHER STORY THAT FAILS TO BRING JUSTICE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WHAT A SHAM AND SHAME SHE PERPED ON THE CITIZENS ALONG WITH HER CROOKED FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO HELPED HER .

  8. The Bobster

    December 15, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    There is a limited number of green morons out there who will buy these overpriced toys. We’ve reached that limit.

  9. Celia Melao

    December 19, 2023 at 7:03 am

    This is a corporation that was defrauded, I would like the FBI to look into all the government DEI programs to see how many billions of dollars have been defrauded. This would mean a lot to the tax payers,that would be our money being stolen. We must stop the theft of our tax dollars. We, the people, suffer from this crime.

  10. Wyatt Earp

    December 19, 2023 at 8:11 am

    Why are we not surprised the criminal are not given life sentence? There so many involved they too deserve time in prison if not for life! She got them involved and they decided to help. So what that make them? There more scam than you realize at FACEBOOK AND META! Who ever heard of Facebook given away a million dollars? Only to learn there more bullshit to the game! They tell you it on the way, then you hear from what they call FedEx security is requesting more money from you! Where the investigation by FBI??

  11. Harry

    December 19, 2023 at 9:32 am

    Typical Liberal, typical with DEI

  12. Pamel

    December 19, 2023 at 10:30 am

    The true measure of a person is how they handle money when no one is looking! Money corrupts so many weak unscrupulous people! Those that do these crimes are incapable of true remorse, they are only sad they were caught! Certain types of people do this kind of crime. Companies need to figure out how to police their own and clean out the ROT! They feel no real shame, only upset they were actually found out! Prosecute them without mercy! They knew what they were doing! I could say more, but won’t.

  13. Exsquid7

    December 19, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    When you are making a living off an idea as corrupt as DEI, it’s a small step further to steal from the “white capitalist corporation”. A firm belief in DEI should be a red flag. “Stealing from a corporation – so what?” A cynical disbelief in DEI should also be a red flag. “Stealing- so what?”

  14. Sunshine Kid

    December 19, 2023 at 6:16 pm

    DEI = “RACIST”. It should be DEIEFWOM (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Except for Whites Or Males.

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