Ex- DEI Manager Barbara Furlow-Smiles Receives 5-Year Imprisonment for Allegedly Stealing $5 Million From Facebook, Nike

By Madz Dizon

May 17, 2024 07:13 AM EDT


Ex- DEI Manager Barbara Furlow-Smiles Receives 5-Year Imprisonment for Allegedly Stealing $5 Million From Facebook, Nike
A handcuff is used to secure fences to keep demonstrators away from the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
(Photo : Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A former executive at Facebook and Nike has been sentenced to over five years in prison. She pleaded guilty in December to embezzling over $5 million from both companies.

Ex-DEI Manager Stole $5 Million to Facebook, Nike in Embezzlement Scheme

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, 38, held the position of Lead Strategist, Global Head of Employee Resource Groups as well as Diversity Engagement at Facebook from approximately January 2017 to September 2021.

According to the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, she managed to embezzle over $4.9 million from the social media giant to support an extravagant lifestyle in California, Georgia, and Oregon, DailyMail reported.

Following her departure from Facebook, she secured a position at Nike as a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion, only to initiate a strikingly similar plan.

Furlow-Smiles has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

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Barbara Furlow-Smiles Linked Payments to Facebook Credit Cards

Barbara Furlow-Smiles connected her online payment apps, such as PayPal and Venmo, to her Facebook credit cards. She used these apps to send money to friends, relatives, her babysitter, and even her hairdresser for services that were never rendered.

In an attempt to conceal her actions, she fabricated false documents and invoices, providing a detailed account of services supposedly utilized for organizing events on behalf of Facebook. However, the events in question did not actually occur.

She even used funds from Facebook to cover the expenses of "specialty portraits" totaling $10,000 and paid over $18,000 to a preschool for tuition.

According to NDTV, the prosecution emphasized that her prison sentence is a direct result of her choice to orchestrate a complex scheme to defraud two of her employers for personal gain.

Altogether, she managed to embezzle a staggering $4.9 million from Facebook and an additional $120,000 from Nike.

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