Man Robs Bank to Get Prison Healthcare

Uploaded by MidweekPolitics on 23.06.2011

Announcer: The David Pakman Show at
David Pakman: A Georgia man with absolutely no history as a criminal has robbed a bank
for the sum of one dollar because he is desperate for health care and he wants to go to jail
to receive the treatment that he so desperately needs. Louis, this is an incredible story.
We've clearly reached a new low in terms of confirming just that the fact that we have
a for-profit health care system is not working.
This man's name is James Richard Verone. He's from Georgia, like I said. He attempted to
steal a dollar from a bank so that he would be arrested, taken to jail, and most importantly,
provided with health care, according to the "Gaston Gazette" in Georgia. This is an unbelievable
story, Louis.
Louis Motamedi: Health care that who pays for? The taxpayers.
David: Absolutely. Many say that the health care system is criminal, but this is the first
time I've heard of someone becoming a criminal to obtain health care, isn't it? At least
that we've talked about in recent years.
Louis: Right.
David: Verone worked for Coca-Cola for 17 years. He lost that job three years ago, Louis.
He's now 59. He can't handle the physical demands of the part-time jobs that he's able
to get, like working in a convenience store. And he has no health care, and this is the
best thing he could come up with.
He told the "Gaston Gazette", "The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept.
I kind of hit a brick wall with everything."
No criminal record prior to this planned robbery. He walked into a bank, handed the teller a
note demanding a dollar, and then just sat down and waited for the police to show up
and arrest him.
He has problems with his back, left foot, he has arthritis in his hands, carpal tunnel
syndrome, an undiagnosed protrusion on his chest. He's hoping... he's not hoping for
much, Louis, he just wants to be examined and treated, and serve enough time that when
he's released, he'll be able to collect Social Security benefits. Jail is being called, in
this case, I guess, the gap-filler in terms of health care.
And you know what, Louis? He may not actually end up serving a long enough sentence to get
him there. Because he only asked for $1, he was charged with larceny from a person instead
of bank robbery, which carries a far lower penalty sentence than actual bank robbery.
So he said, you know, if this doesn't get me in jail long enough, I'll just turn to
crime again. I'll have to ask for more money this time, I guess.
It's shocking. It's incredibly sad. But again, I've been getting so many emails about this,
and people in other countries... countries at the development level of the United States
say they don't even understand the concept of for-profit health insurance. I mean, literally,
they just don't understand, what... how could that possibly be? What does that mean? For-profit
health insurance? Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are the ones that
hold all the power? And through donations to politicians and financing campaigns...
Louis: They maintain the power.
David: They maintain the power? I mean, this is literally just unheard-of and unbelievable
to many of our listeners around the world. And we're just... we've kind of gotten used
to it, haven't we, Louis?
Louis: Unfortunately.
David: Verone is going to represent himself. He... he's in a position that many others
are probably hearing now and saying I wonder if it makes sense for me. Because we hear
of so many individuals who are middle-aged, they have lost their jobs, they are not really
in a physical condition, nor are they really hireable for many jobs that are really just
looking for younger people, but they're not old enough to receive Social Security benefits
yet. What do you do? What do you do, because you're at an age where you absolutely need
health care?
It's time, Louis, for something to happen. And you know, I've been pessimistic about
this for years. When we talked to Wendell Potter on the show a couple of times, author
of "Deadly Spin", I told him I'm not optimistic about the possibility of single-payer health
care in this country.
However, Vermont is actually going in that direction. They have passed a bill, maybe
as soon as 2014, probably not until 2017 when we see it enacted. Maybe it's a start. Maybe
it's the start of helping people like James Richard Verone of Georgia, who has resorted
to robbing banks to be sent to prison to get health care. I mean, I don't know, Louis.
Is that... is it a possibility that that will open up the door to changing the egregious
system we have in this country?
Louis: No. I think we're just going to have to wait to see what happens in Vermont, and
then it will be up to each state individually to follow their lead.
David: How many more are going to try this? I mean, ladies and gentlemen, how many more
people are going to resort to felonies to get health care?
And it's interesting, if you look at this article and the commentary on conservative
websites, there are actually right-wingers that are angry that this guy found a way to
get, quote, "free treatment". I mean, that's the discussion that's happening on a lot of
conservative forums. I'm not going to mention them, because I don't want to give them any
promotion, but that, I was reading this morning just getting ready for the show, angry that
this man has found a way to get himself free care that he doesn't deserve.
Louis: I'm sure... I bet you there are people that have done it, and I'm sure there are
more people that will do it, but keep in mind, you have to be willing to do time.
David: Yeah, it's not completely "free".
Louis: Right.
David: Maybe I'd rob a bank and get sent to prison for the prison gym. I mean, I've been
disappointed with the Nautilus equipment lately at my gym, so maybe I'll just commit a crime
and get sent to-- and then I can use the prison gym.
Louis: Then you'll have nothing else to do except work out.
David: I'll be huge.
Louis: You'll come out looking like a Greek god.
David: Yeah. I'll be like Arnold in that weird video in the 70s where he talks about how
lifting a barbelle is like an orgasm for him.
Louis: Yeah.
David: So we saw where that went for him, by the way, ladies and gentlemen.
The 2012...
Louis: Yeah, it got him... it got him... it made him millions of dollars and got him...
David: A love child.
Louis: Got him elected as governor of California.
David: That's true. And a love child.
Transcript provided by Alex Wickersham and For transcripts, translations,
captions, and subtitles, or for more information, visit, or contact Alex