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Man robs bank for $1 to get medical care in jail


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Man robs bank to get medical care in jail

By Zachary Roth


Some people who need medical care but can't afford it go to the emergency room. Others just hope they'll get better. James Richard Verone robbed a bank.


Earlier this month, Verone (pictured), a 59-year-old convenience store clerk, walked into a Gaston, N.C., bank and handed the cashier a note demanding $1 and medical attention. Then he waited calmly for police to show up.


He's now in jail and has an appointment with a doctor this week.


Verone's problems started when he lost the job he'd held for 17 years as a Coca Cola deliveryman, amid the economic downturn. He found new work driving a truck, but it didn't last. Eventually, he took a part-time position at the convenience store.


But Verone's body wasn't up to it. The bending and lifting made his back ache. He had problems with his left foot, making him limp. He also suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.


Then he noticed a protrusion on his chest. "The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept," Verone told the Gaston Gazette. "I kind of hit a brick wall with everything."


Verone knew he needed help--and he didn't want to be a burden on his sister and brothers. He applied for food stamps, but they weren't enough either.


So he hatched a plan. On June 9, he woke up, showered, ironed his shirt. He mailed a letter to the Gazette, listing the return address as the Gaston County Jail.


"When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me," Verone wrote in the letter. "This robbery is being committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body."


Then Verone hailed a cab to take him to the RBC Bank. Inside, he handed the teller his $1 robbery demand.


"I didn't have any fears," said Verone. "I told the teller that I would sit over here and wait for police."


The teller was so frightened that she had to be taken to the hospital to be checked out. Verone, meanwhile, was taken to jail, just as he'd planned it.


Because he only asked for $1, Verone was charged with larceny, not bank robbery. But he said that if his punishment isn't severe enough, he plans to tell the judge that he'll do it again. His $100,000 bond has been reduced to $2,000, but he says he doesn't plan to pay it.


In jail, Verone said he skips dinner to avoid too much contact with the other inmates. He's already seen some nurses and is scheduled to see a doctor on Friday. He said he's hoping to receive back and foot surgery, and get the protrusion on his chest treated. Then he plans to spend a few years in jail, before getting out in time to collect Social Security and move to the beach.


Verone also presented the view that if the United States had a health-care system which offered people more government support, he wouldn't have had to make the choice he did.


"If you don't have your health you don't have anything," Verone said.


The Affordable Care Act, President Obama's health-care overhaul passed by Congress last year, was designed to make it easier for Americans in situations like Verone's to get health insurance. But most of its provisions don't go into effect until 2014.


As it is, Verone said he thinks he chose the best of a bunch of bad options. "I picked jail."

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GASTONIA, N.C. — A Gaston County man robbed a bank and then sat down on the floor to wait for police to arrest him.


"(This is the) first time I've ever been in trouble with the law,” James Verone said from the Gaston County Jail on Friday. “I'm sort of a logical person and that was my logic. (That was) what I came up with.”


That is how Verone said he came to the decision to rob the RBC bank on New Hope Road on Thursday, June 9.


He didn’t have a gun and he handed the teller a rather unusual note.


"The note said ‘This is a bank robbery. Please only give me one dollar,’" Verone said.


Then he did the strangest thing of all.


"I started to walk away from the teller, then I went back and said, 'I'll be sitting right over there in the chair waiting for the police," Verone said.


And that is what he did.


The teller called 911 and police released the recording:


911 Operator: Is he being threatening to ya’ll?


Bank teller: Yes


911 Operator: What is, he has threatened you?


Bank teller: Yes


911 Operator: To shoot you?


Bank teller: Uh, yes. He’s sitting on the sofa. He can hear everything I’m saying, so I’m in a back room. But there’s four of us here in the bank. Please hurry.


911 Operator: Ok ma’am. They’re just right out there.


So why did Verone do everything he could to get arrested?


"Because I wanted to make it known that this wasn't for monetary reasons, but for medical reasons," he said.


Hoping for three-year sentence

Verone said he doesn’t have medical insurance. He has a growth of some sort on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. He is 59-years-old and with no job and a depleted bank account, he thought jail was the best place he could go for medical care and a roof over his head.


Verone said he wanted police to arrest him.


"Oh yeah. I went in knowing I was going to jail," Verone said.


He is hoping for a three-year sentence. He would then be able to collect Social Security when he got out and said he would head for the beach.


"I've already looked at a condominium. I've spoken to a realtor on Myrtle Beach," Verone said.


He admits his story is unusual and said he wouldn't recommend anyone else do what he did, but Verone said he has no regrets. He said he is getting good medical care now, but the jail doctor accused him of manipulating the system.


"If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care," Verone said.


Verone may have a problem with his plan because he only demanded one dollar in the bank robbery. Police charged him, not with bank robbery, but larceny from a person. He might not get as much time in the slammer as he was hoping for.



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LOL Perhaps he would've been better of pretending that he was an illegal immigrant, this way he could get the medical treatment he needed. :P It seems to be the new norm these days.


But couldn't he just go into a public hospital (like many poor illegal immigrants do) and get the medical care, rather than going to jail for it?

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When i first read the title I LOL'ed..




Man you rob a bank just for a $1 and then end up in jail for medical improvements.. Wow..

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But couldn't he just go into a public hospital (like many poor illegal immigrants do) and get the medical care, rather than going to jail for it?


Since I'm a poor student, I have Affinity Health Insurance. My primary care doctor sucks. I once waited 4 hours for a visit that lasted 15 minutes.

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Right or wrong, it's sad as hell that anyone would think that committing a crime and going to jail would be a benefit than a bad thing. That's sick but thats where things are with some. Damn.

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