Man Robs Bank for $1 To Get Health Care in Jail

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A Gastonia, N.C. bank teller was no doubt surprised when handed a note saying a bank robbery had begun. The teller was probably more surprised with the amount the unarmed robber was seeking: exactly $1.

But the story of James Varone and the little larceny gets even screwier from there. Or maybe there’s a certain logic to it.

Varone, 59, is unemployed and is facing several health problems which he could not afford to address by himself. So, according to his interview with WCNC-TV, he came up with a scheme to become a part of the only population that actually receives free universal health care: the incarcerated.

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When he approached the teller at RBC Bank, he slipped her the robbery note, warned her that he was demanding¬† the heavy sum of legal tender, and waited to be taken away for his miniature malfeasance. “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. “Oh yeah. I went in knowing I was going to jail.”

He’s hoping to be sentenced to three years in prison, while he receives top-of-the-line health care typically given to people in jail, worth about $27,000 a year in North Carolina. After that he’d like to collect Social Security, then hit the beach. However, he might not be so lucky.

Police charged him with robbery from a person, and not bank robbery, so his sentence will likely carry less time than he had hoped. Verone, however is hopeful for his post-prison prospects. “I’ve already looked at a condominium. I’ve spoken to a realtor on Myrtle Beach.”

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