in ,

Former Facebook strategist pleads guilty of embezzlement of $4 Million

Former Facebook strategist pleads guilty

Former Facebook strategist pleads guilty of embezzlement of $4 Million.

Meta, Facebook faces a concerning situation where millions of dollars were embezzled through a complex scheme by an official.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, who led initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Facebook from 2017 to 2021, has pleaded guilty to diverting over $4 million from the social media giant in a sprawling kickback scheme.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Georgia, she utilized a sophisticated method involving payment apps linked to her Facebook credit card. By making payments to fictitious vendors, she successfully diverted millions from the company.

The prosecutors, in their press release, stated that “Furlow-Smiles knowingly devised a scheme to defraud Facebook through pretenses, representations, and promises, along with the omission of material facts.”

The modus operandi included submitting false expense reports, where charges were listed as payments to non-existent vendors. Once these charges were approved, Furlow-Smiles arranged for the “vendors” to provide her with the money in cash or transfer funds to her husband’s account.

The kickbacks, as detailed by prosecutors, were exchanged in various ways, including in person or through Federal Express or mail, sometimes concealed in unconventional items like T-shirts.

In response to these allegations, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, expressed cooperation with law enforcement in addressing the case involving their former program manager. A Meta spokesperson affirmed their commitment to assisting in the investigation, highlighting the seriousness of the situation.

Furlow-Smiles’ legal representatives have not provided any comments on the matter, leaving the details of her defense unclear.

Court documents presented by prosecutors shed light on the extent of Furlow-Smiles’ abuse of her position at Facebook. She reportedly used her influence to introduce vendors with connections to friends and associates.

Once these vendors were approved for collaboration with Facebook, she inflated expense reports to siphon additional funds. Prosecutors highlighted that Furlow-Smiles falsely claimed that her associates or their businesses provided goods and services to Facebook for various programs and events when, in reality, they had not.

What adds a layer of shock to this case is the inclusion of relatives, friends, former interns from a previous job, babysitters, a hair stylist, and even her college tutor among those implicated in her fraudulent activities. This suggests a level of manipulation and involvement of people close to her in executing the scheme.

The misuse of funds extended beyond the embezzlement itself, as Furlow-Smiles utilized the fraudulently obtained money for personal expenses. Notably, she spent $10,000 on specialty portraits from an artist and more than $18,000 on preschool tuition.

In response to these revelations, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan strongly condemned Furlow-Smiles’ actions. He highlighted the gravity of her misuse of trust as a global diversity executive for Facebook.

Buchanan emphasized that she not only defrauded the company of millions but also undermined the importance of her role in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Motivated by greed, Furlow-Smiles orchestrated an elaborate criminal scheme, involving relatives, friends, and other associates in her crimes, all to fund a lavish lifestyle through fraud rather than honest work.

This case not only exposes financial misconduct but also raises questions about the potential impact on Meta’s reputation. The company, like many in the tech industry, has faced scrutiny for various issues, including those related to diversity and inclusion.

As the legal proceedings unfold, it remains to be seen how this scandal will shape discussions around corporate accountability, ethical conduct, and the responsibility of large tech corporations.


Spread the love

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

What do you think?

33 Points
Upvote Downvote
Avatar photo

Written by Anthony Peters