State

Man robs bank for $1 to get health care

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
James Verone

James Verone at Gaston county jail (Ben Goff/The Gaston Gazette)

A Gaston County man says he robbed a bank to get medical care.

According to the Gaston Gazette, 59-year-old Richard Verone says had no medical insurance and an undiagnosed growth on his chest, two ruptured discs in his back, and a problem with his foot.

He says in order to get the treatment he needs, he decided to rob a bank so he could go to prison.

Verone worked for Coca-Cola for 17 years as a delivery driver but that career ended a few years ago. Verone says he lived off savings and worked a part-time job but his physical ailments made working difficult.

He applied for early Social Security benefits but only qualified for food stamps, which was not an answer to getting him the medical attention he needed.

Verone's note to the teller said he was robbing the bank and wanted $1. He says he didn't want to scare anyone and wanted them to know he wasn't doing it for money.

"I started to walk away from the teller and then I went back and said, 'I'll be sitting right over here on the chair waiting for the police,'" Verone said. Police confirmed Verone sat on a sofa and waited for officers.

Since he didn't use a weapon, Verone hopes to get a 3-year sentence and then begin collecting Social Security. He's charged with larceny from a person.

Once he gets out of prison, Verone says he plans to go to the beach.

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