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Georgia Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing More Than $4m From Facebook

A former Facebook employee pleaded guilty to stealing more than $4 million from the company, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles ran the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs from 2017-21 and embezzled the funds through fraudulent credit card charges, expense reports and cash kickbacks.

“This defendant abused a position of a 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,” federal prosecutor Ryan Buchanan said in a statement.

“Motivated by greed, she used her time to orchestrate an elaborate criminal scheme in which fraudulent vendors paid her kickbacks in cash,” he continued. “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.”

Prosecutors said Furlow-Smiles orchestrated kickbacks from friends and family who ran businesses and made some of those businesses official vendors for the companies, again for cash kickbacks.

Cash was frequently stashed inside shipments of T-shirts and other merchandise, and Furlow-Smiles attempted to cover up her conduct through the use of straw buyers, prosecutors said.

Source: Thehill