Posted on December 14, 2023

Former Facebook Diversity Strategist Pleads Guilty to Stealing More Than $4 Million From Company

Dan Mangan, CNBC, December 13, 2023

A former global diversity strategist at Facebook pleaded guilty to wire fraud after stealing more than $4 million from the social media giant “to fund a lavish lifestyle” in California and Georgia, federal prosecutors said.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, who led various Facebook Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs from 2017 through mid-2021, stole the money “through an elaborate scheme involving fraudulent vendors, fictitious charges, and cash kickbacks,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta said in a statement.


Among other things, prosecutors said Furlow-Smiles, 38, caused Facebook to pay people for goods and services that were never actually provided to the company and then had those individuals pay her kickbacks.

“These individuals included friends, relatives, former interns from a prior job, nannies and babysitters, a hair stylist, and her university tutor,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.


U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan, in a statement, said Furlow-Smiles had abused her position of trust at Facebook to “defraud the company of millions of dollars, ignoring the insidious consequences of undermining the importance of her DEI mission.”