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Ex-Con Who Wanted to Return to Jail for Health Care Denied

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Ex-Con Who Wanted to Return  to Jail for Health Care Denied
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Ex-Con Who Wanted to Return to Jail for Health Care Denied (ABC News)

(Image Credit: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

Ex-convict Frank Morrocco brazenly walked out of a supermarket Nov. 26 with $23 in stolen items, hoping his petty theft would land him back behind bars, where he could receive treatment for his leukemia.

On Monday, Morrocco turned himself in after he was informed that there was a federal warrant out for his arrest for violating the terms of his five-year supervised release, according to the Buffalo News. Morrocco was released from prison last December after serving two decades on drug charges.

On Monday, a federal judge denied him his wish to return.

Morrocco, 56, made what he saw as a life or death decision two weeks ago when he shoplifted from a supermarket.

"Actually, I didn't want to go back to prison, but did I want to die out here? Absolutely not. I want to live," Morrocco told WIVB. When the Amherst, N.Y., man appeared before the judge on Monday, he was ordered to go to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and apply for health coverage under the New York Bridge plan, which is run by the state and caters to people with pre-existing conditions.

"I am thankful that it looks like I'm going to get health care coverage," Morrocco told the Buffalo News on Monday.

It's not the first time a sick person has turned to crime in order to get health care.

Last year, Richard James Verone handed a teller at RBC Bank in Gastonia, N.C., a note demanding $1 and claiming that he had a gun, according to the police report.

With a growth in his chest, two ruptured disks and no job, Verone hoped a three-year stint in prison would afford him the health care he needed.

"I'm sort of a logical person, and that was my logic, what I came up with," Verone told reporters. "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 was released from prison last July.

ABC News' Katie Moisse contributed to this report.

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