Former Facebook employee pleads guilty to stealing $4 million
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Former Facebook employee pleads guilty to stealing $4 million.

While working for Facebook as an executive, a woman in Atlanta pleaded guilty to stealing more than $4 million from the company during the time that she was employed there.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a lead strategist at Facebook Inc., now known as Meta, worked there from about January 2017 until September 2021 as the global head of employee resource groups and diversity engagement. Office of Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan of the Northern District of Georgia.

As a global diversity executive for Facebook, the defendant abused her position of trust to defraud the company of millions of dollars, disregarding the insidious consequences of undermining the importance of the DEI mission in the first place,” said Buchanan in a statement.

There has been a claim that Furlow-Smiles used her Facebook expense account in order to live a luxurious lifestyle in California and Georgia, according to the US Attorney.

During the course of her fraud, Furlow-Smiles used Facebook funds to pay for several personal expenses, including hair stylists, babysitters, and $18,000 to a preschool for tuition, according to Buchanan.

The “scheme” of Furlow-Smiles was to link her company’s credit cards to PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App, then to use the cards to pay others for services never provided by Furlow-Smiles, according to Buchanan.

According to Buchanan’s Office, the friends, relatives, and associates who receive the payments are then asked to return some of the money to Furlow-Smiles as a kickback.

Furlow-Smiles created inflated invoices to pay vendors, then those vendors returned some of the payment to Furlow-Smiles.

Buchanan continues, “She even involved relatives, friends, and associates in her crimes, all in order to afford a lavish lifestyle from fraud rather than hard work.”