Former DEI Leader Sentenced for Multi-Million Dollar Fraud at Facebook and Nike

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, once a prominent figure in corporate diversity initiatives at Facebook and Nike, has been handed a 63-month prison sentence for siphoning off more than $5 million from these companies. The sentencing took place on Monday, leaving the former DEI leader with a hefty price to pay for her criminal actions.

The judge, Steven Grimberg, also mandated that Furlow-Smiles repay the stolen amount in full, totaling $5,102,838.08. During her emotional address to the court, she expressed the gravity of her situation, declaring it the fight of her life.

This sentencing comes after Furlow-Smiles admitted her guilt in December, acknowledging the sophisticated fraud scheme she orchestrated. Starting in 2017 at Facebook, she abused her access to corporate finances to support a lavish lifestyle across California and Georgia, indulging in luxuries from specialty portraits to preschool tuition.

Despite her defense arguing the pressures of being a primary provider in an expensive new city pushed her to these extremes, the prosecution highlighted the ongoing and calculated nature of her fraud, which did not cease even after her move to Nike. Here, she continued her deceitful practices, stealing over $121,000.

Family members and friends stood by Furlow-Smiles during the sentencing, pleading for mercy and emphasizing her character and contributions. Despite their efforts, the judge pointed out the repeated and deliberate nature of her crimes, noting the adverse impact these actions have had on the reputation of DEI initiatives.

As part of her sentencing, Furlow-Smiles is granted time to receive medical treatment and spend the summer with her family before her incarceration begins. She remains under supervision until she reports to prison on July 22, starting her path towards restitution and rehabilitation.

Leave a Comment