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June 21st, 2011
11:47 AM ET

Man says he robbed bank to get health care

A man walks into a bank and slips a note to the teller.

The note reads: “This is a bank robbery. Please only give me one dollar.”

Then the man tells the bank employees, “I’ll be sitting right over there in the chair waiting for the police."

He perches himself on a chair outside the bank he just robbed and waits for the police to arrive.

That suspect, James Verone, who is from Gaston County, North Carolina, told CNN affiliate WCNC that he robbed a bank for $1 for the sole reason of getting in jail so he could get free health care. He was not armed during the robbery.

Verone, 59, told WCNC he doesn’t have health insurance, but has a host of medical problems: A growth on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot.  Without a job and money, he reached the conclusion that going to jail would mean free medical care (although it's not free for taxpayers).

“I wanted to make it known that this wasn't for monetary reasons, but for medical reasons," Verone said.  His jailhouse interview with the station is above.

The logic, he told the news station, was to get a three-year sentence so he can get out of jail then collect Social Security and then later live in a Myrtle Beach condo.

Verone told his local paper, The Gaston Gazette that he had worked as a delivery man for Coca-Cola for 17 years.  That career ended three years ago, and he couldn’t find steady employment.  Then the medical problems began.  He lived off his savings and sought a part-time job.

The police charged him with larceny, not bank robbery, because of the $1 amount he demanded at the bank. Verone told his hometown paper if the jail penalty isn’t great enough, the crime will happen again.

Verone told WCNC, "I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care."

Is Verone’s story an example of one man gaming the system or a product of a flawed health care in America? Sound off below.


soundoff (1,165 Responses)
  1. RightTurn

    What this actually tells (us) is that our justice system is so fair and humane because it treats criminals WELL including medical treatment. Compare that with Iran and the Middle East where they beat and torture .. or with Mexico and Latin America where prisons are cesspools. Compare it to Russia and China where socialism (Communism) decides ones fate. Nobody is trying to get into prison in any of those places .. or even Europe (socialist Europe that is going broke) - no place to be in prison. The U.S. is always miles ahead on how it treats EVERYONE .. so some want to get in to jail. Like this fellow.

    June 22, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • N H T K -12

      Now you really show what retard you are!

      June 22, 2011 at 22:23 | Report abuse |
    • straightdownthemiddle

      right turn YOU LIE ! listen to the Canadian folks, its the truth . We need a national system that covers all Americans for a fraction of what it cost today . Canada's system is named Medicare i think ,we have it starting @ age 65 but mr right turn and his cronies are trying to privatize it & give you a 8 k voucher @ age 65 . Lori above , 8 K would not cover you & the kids beyond a band aid . This story tells us where this country is today . Iraq has health care for every one of their citizens , paid for by us the tax payers . No , big oil does not lower gas prices to show their appreciation .

      June 23, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
  2. Lisa G

    Well many people and Government in the US think that Canada has an insane policy with our Universal Healthcare, why should a healthy person pay for a sick person right??? Well this is why! How many tax payers dollars are going to be spent prosecuting, jailing and following up on this unfortunate man??? Oh and before everyone starts saying the healthcare system in Canada is slow, deprived etc... I work in statistics, healthcare and pharma and the lacking services Americans are struggling to pay for are the same most Canadians are receiving, we just don't notice the $20 coming off our pay checks each week.We sure do notice when the Hospital send you a bill for a $150,000 and you don't actually have to send 1 payment. They just send it to you to show you how grateful we as Canadians should be (and many of us are).

    June 22, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RightTurn

      Canada did not let lawyers sue doctors and hospitals until the insurance portion of the bill is twice more than the doctor gets. .. and Canad a did not let unions demand wages and benefits so costly that a 6 block ride in an ambulance is $8,000 and a hospital room is $2500 a day .. most of which is INSURANCE. (and union benefits). So you see .. socialism is great for lawyers and insurance companies. [it's not so good for working stiffs but they never figure it out .. so what difference does it make?]

      June 22, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • Pappy

      $20 a week, huh? If only it was that cheap.......

      June 28, 2011 at 21:55 | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    He could have gotten FREE health care a few miles from where he "robbed" the bank. (he had a few choices) Notice how CNN (and all the other media) did NOT bring this up.

    June 22, 2011 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. kim

    To Dawn: I think you are right, one of the main problems is that there is no compassion or empathy. More than anything else, it's really SAD to read what a lot of people on here say. They begrudge another human being any help. They have so much hatred, selfishness and ugliness inside. They are cruel and proud of it. SAD...SAD....SAD

    June 23, 2011 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. N H T K -12

    Someone said "No Canadian will ever rob a bank to get health care. No Canadian will have to declare bankruptcy for health issues"
    This is not what Ameircans can say! Now, it is obvious who is being taken for a ride?

    June 23, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • straightdownthemiddle

      The fortune 500 corporations and their execs are having all time record profits & compensation ( 09 , 10 ) we are losing our homes,heath care from this bank created recession that has eliminated millions of jobs for ever . Think local & help each other where u can . The good out number the evil 9 to 1 . Remember money can not buy love & friendship .

      June 23, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
  6. Chaddi

    You folks are so pathetic that blame one person, Mr. Obama for aaaaalllll of your and everyone else's problems. I forgot how perfect the world was before he took office. I forgot we all had wonderful healthcare and zero unemployment before he took office. Many of us know the true reason why he gets attacked and blamed for everything including the wind direction. Anyway, grow mentally and stop being drones.

    June 23, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Nikki

    It is really sad when people have to commit a crime to get medical. We give criminals and education while in prison, dental, and medical. Yet those of that are working to make ends meat but make too much to qualify for help get denied for everything. Good people=no help, criminals=all help. I don't see how any of that is fair. You may hate me for saying this but in Germany, nobody is denied any kind of medical ( not just emergency). They also aren't denied Dental or education. You don't have to be super rich or super poor to go to college over there. Like here, you are a lazy person that don't work and have no $ the government will pay for everything. But if you are trying and struggling but its just not enough they say you make too much money. Its plain and simple and nobody wants to do anything about it.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Andurill

    Nice censoring job CNN – does free speech only apply to things you approve of?

    June 23, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. reed

    This is just another example of someone trying to take the easy way out and take advantage of the system. Why should I, as a middle class person, have to pay for this person to voluntarily go to jail? GET A JOB. The healthcare policy imposed by Obama is great for unemployed families with more children than they can afford and people who take no pride in working for their money. Enjoy your government cheese and your foodstamps. There is no such thing as free healthcare people. I am paying for this man to sit in jail and relax all day. This is truly disgusting.

    June 26, 2011 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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    I disagree with the comnmet An employee is an employee. Not a manager, not an investor, not a founder. An employee can be and often is all three at the same time.50k of my money is an investment no matter what way you cut it, why should I buy shares at a hyper-inflated price getting ripped off like this would p*ss me off every day I go to work rather than serving to motivate me into being productive ..not that I would ever except the idiot deal being proposed to the fictional employee above.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.