Former USC linebacker facing 12 charges after allegedly filing fraudulent COVID-19 relief claims

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Former USC linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain has been charged with mail fraud and identity theft in an alleged scheme to take advantage of COVID-19 relief funds.

McClain, 22, was officially indicted on Dec. 16 and that indictment was unsealed this week. The indictment alleges that he and his “co-schemers” tried to help other former football players file fraudulent COVID-19 relief claims last year. From the Los Angeles Times:

Approximately 36 fraudulent claims were made for PUA benefits, according to the indictment. Those applications, which were filed in their own names, in the names of friends and teammates, and in the names of others whose identities were stolen as part of the scheme, resulted in EDD authorizing Bank of America to mail debit cards to McClain and other football players that sought more than $900,000, but ultimately totaled losses of at least $227,736.

McClain is currently enrolled at Jackson State and transferred away from USC In the fall of 2020. USC said that it’s cooperating with the federal investigation.

McClain's indictment came three days after former NFL wide receiver Josh Bellamy was sentenced to three years in prison for a $1.2 million pandemic relief scheme. Another former NFL receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, pleaded guilty in October to a COVID-19 relief scheme.

McClain’s brother filed for unemployment in 2020

It was revealed last year that McClain’s brother Munir filed for for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in the fall of 2020.

Munir McClain, a sophomore wide receiver in 2020, asked the federal government for nearly $800 a week because he claimed his shoe reselling business had taken a hit because of the pandemic.

USC suspended Munir after he applied for the unemployment assistance. Shortly after the suspension, the two brothers transferred away from USC. That transfer came after they had met with federal investigators on campus regarding Munir’s application and the players' parents told the Times that Abdul-Malik had also received PUA funds.

Munir McClain is now at Utah. He missed the 2020 season because of a knee injury and Abdul-Malik saw limited playing time and didn’t record a tackle. He had two tackles — both were sacks — in 2019 as a freshman.