Not being able to afford health care can drive you to desperation -- but robbing a bank? That's exactly what James Verone did. Yet Verone wasn't seeking bags of cash to pay for unpaid bills.
Verone robbed the RBC Bank in North Carolina last Thursday. He didn't bring a gun, but simply handed the bank teller a note reading, "This is a bank robbery. Please only give me one dollar." He then went and sat down, telling the employee, "I'll be sitting right over there in the chair waiting for the police."
Verone says he's currently unemployed, has an empty bank account, and desperately needs health care to treat his numerous medical conditions, including two ruptured disks in his back. He robbed the bank because he wanted to go to jail - and take advantage of the free health care there.
"I'm sort of a logical person and that was my logic, what I came up with," he said. "I wanted to make it known that this wasn't for monetary reasons, but for medical reasons."
He's already receiving health care in jail, while he waits for his case to come up. If he gets a three-year sentence, he'll be able to get all his health problems taken care of -- and he'll also be able to collect social security when he's released. However, because he showed up at the bank unarmed, and only asked for one dollar, he was charged with larceny rather than the federal crime of bank robbery, meaning he may not receive as much jail time as he would like.
"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. He also said, however, that he doesn't regret his actions.
What a telling commentary on America's health care system: Here's a man willing to do hard time in order to get the care he desperately needs. Quite a sad situation when men must become criminals to see a doctor.