Jackson State linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain has been accused of orchestrating a Covid-19 benefits scheme with other players while he was attending USC in 2020.
"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 reads.
"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."
They tried to get payouts of $903,688 in benefits and at least $227,736 was paid out.
McClain pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. He was released on $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court again Feb. 15.