Former USC linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain was one of several FBS transfers that headed to Jackson State in the wake of hiring Deion Sanders.
Now McClain is making headlines for a different reason. He was arrested and charged with 10 counts of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday. He pled not guilty, was released on a $20k bond and is due back in court to face the charges on Feb. 15.
Abdul-Malik McClain is no longer listed on the Jackson State roster. He played one game this fall, recording three tackles in a loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
McClain is accused of devising a scheme to fraudulently obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID-related unemployment benefits by federal authorities while at USC in 2020.
Per the documents released by the government:
“McClain organized and assisted a group of other football players in filing fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits, including under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program established by Congress in response to the pandemic’s economic fallout. The indictment alleges that the claims — which were filed with the California Employment Development Department (EDD), the administrator of the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) benefit program — contained false information about the football players’ supposed prior employment, pandemic-related job loss, and job-seeking efforts in California.”
“McClain and his co-schemers also allegedly filed applications in their own names, in the names of other friends and associates, and in the names of identity theft victims,” the Justice Department release said. “According to the indictment, these claims also falsely stated that the claimants were self-employed workers, including athletic trainers and tutors, who had lost work in California as a result of the pandemic.”
McClain’s brother, Munir McClain, was suspended by USC for his role in the alleged scheme. He left the school and transferred to Utah. Abdul-Malik was never suspended or asked to testify before a grand jury while at USC.