LOS ANGELES – A former University of Southern California footballer was arrested Monday on charges of plotting to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars into COVID-related unemployment benefits.
Abdul-Malik McClain, 22, who now plays and plays in Jackson, Mississippi, has surrendered to federal law enforcement in Los Angeles. He has been charged with 10 counts of mail fraud and two counts of theft of personal information.
McClain, who lived in Los Angeles and was a member of the USC Trojans football team in 2020, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and was released on $ 20,000 bail.
According to the Department of Justice, McClain was a Trojan who helped organize and file lawsuits against other footballers for unemployment benefits.
The lawsuit, filed with the California Department of Employment Development (EDD), alleges that the footballer had a previous job, lost his job due to the plague, and was looking for a job in California.
The false statement led EDD to allow the Bank of America to mail debit cards to football players. These debit cards carried at least hundreds of dollars, sometimes thousands, of dollars in unemployment benefits, which recipients used to withdraw cash from ATMs and finance their personal expenses. In some cases, McClean sought and obtained dismissal for helping others file fraudulent applications.
The group said they were sports coaches and teachers whose employment had been adversely affected by the plague.
A total of 36 applications were submitted and almost $ 230,000 in benefits were awarded. According to the Ministry of Justice, the application requested more than $ 903,000 in funding.
“When the university learned of this in September 2020, we informed law enforcement and are cooperating fully with the authorities,” the university told Fox News in a statement. We don’t consider it necessary to comment on such fabrications. “
Each case of postal fraud is punishable by 20 years in federal prison. Aggravated theft is punishable by two consecutive years in prison for all charges of postal fraud.
In October, state officials in California said they had defrauded criminals of more than $ 20 billion in unemployment benefits.