GASTONIA, N.C. -- A man's jailhouse claim that he robbed a North Carolina bank of $1 in order to get medical care in prison is attracting headlines across the country.

In an interview with WNCN-TV, first broadcast Sunday, Richard James Verone said he has no medical insurance, but has an undiagnosed growth on his chest, two ruptured disks in his back and a problem with his foot.

The 59-year-old has no job and no money, so he said he decided to rob a bank in a bid to get medical care.

Last Thursday he walked into a branch of the RBC Bank in Gastonia, N.C. and handed a teller a note which asked for one dollar -- then he sat in a chair waiting for the police to arrive.

"I wanted to make it known that this wasn't for monetary reasons, but for medical reasons," he said in his interview from behind bars. "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," he said.

ABC News reported Monday that the police report said Verone claimed to have a gun, but no weapon was found and the accused may only face a charge of larceny, not armed robbery, which would reduce his jail time. He was scheduled to appear in court June 28.