Analysis of the Fraud Scheme at Facebook and Nike

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, a former diversity manager at Facebook and Nike, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison for stealing over $5 million from the companies. She utilized a scheme involving fraudulent vendors, fake invoices, and cash kickbacks to embezzle the funds, as reported by federal prosecutors.

Furlow-Smiles, 38, used the stolen money to fund a luxury lifestyle in multiple states. She linked PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App accounts to her credit cards at Facebook and used them to pay friends, relatives, and others for fake goods and services that were never delivered. The majority of the money paid out ended up being kicked back to Furlow-Smiles.

The fraud committed by Furlow-Smiles not only resulted in significant financial losses to the companies but also caused anguish among the employees who had trusted and worked closely with her. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, lost over $4.5 million in addition to various expenses incurred during the investigation of the scheme.

Furlow-Smiles was sentenced to pay restitution of $4.98 million to Facebook and $121,000 to Nike. She must report to prison by July 22 to serve her prison term. The judge also highlighted her lack of accountability and remorse during the sentencing.

The case of Barbara Furlow-Smiles serves as a cautionary tale for companies to implement robust internal controls and oversight mechanisms to prevent such fraudulent activities. It also underscores the importance of ethical leadership and the need for accountability at all levels of an organization. The impact of financial crimes extends beyond monetary losses and can severely damage trust and morale within a company.

The case of Barbara Furlow-Smiles highlights the repercussions of white-collar crime and the devastating effects it can have on companies and their employees. It emphasizes the need for strict enforcement of regulations and the promotion of a culture of transparency and integrity in the corporate world. Companies must remain vigilant against fraudulent activities and prioritize ethical behavior to safeguard their operations and reputation.


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