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Former Facebook employee pleads guilty to stealing $4 million

An Atlanta woman pleaded guilty to stealing more than $4 million from Facebook while she was an executive at the company.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles who worked as a lead strategist, global head of employee resource groups and diversity engagement at Facebook, Inc., now known as Meta, from about January 2017 to September 2021 according to U.S. Attorney Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan’s Office.

“This defendant abused a position of 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 in a statement.

According to the US Attorney, Furlow-Smiles used her Facebook expense account to live a luxurious lifestyle in California and Georgia.

Furlow-Smiles fraudulently used Facebook funds to pay for numerous personal expenses including hair stylists, babysitters, and $18,000 to a preschool for tuition, according to Buchanan.

Furlow-Smiles’ “scheme” was to link her company credit cards to PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App, then use those cards to pay others for services never performed, Buchanan says.

Friends, relatives, and associates who received the payments would then return some of the money to Furlow-Smiles as a kickback, according to Buchanan’s Office.

Investigators say Furlow-Smiles would create inflated invoices to pay them, then those vendors would return a portion of the payment to Furlow-Smiles.

Buchanan adds, “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.”

Sentencing for Barbara Furlow-Smiles is scheduled for March 19, 2024.

Source: CNN Business