AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Frank Morrocco says he got arrested on purpose, so he could receive the medical treatment needed to save his life. Morrocco says he suffers from a rare form of leukemia and could not afford the treatment.
The 56-year-old was released from federal prison a year ago after serving two decades on drug charges. He was getting cancer treatment as an inmate, but the Amherst man soon realized he couldn't afford the same treatment on the outside. That's when he says he came up with a plan: get arrested for shoplifting and get sent back to prison.
"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 said.
On November 26, Morrocco went to a Wegmans store on Alberta Drive in Amherst and allegedly shoplifted about $20 worth of merchandise.
"I told the doctor earlier that day. My hands are tied. I'm just going to in Wegmans. I'm going to go to the store and just grab something. Let them see me and violate my supervised release," he said.
Morrocco figured he'd be able to go back to prison and get treatment for his rare form of leukemia. But Federal Magistrate Kenneth Schroeder released him, saying that based on his medical needs, the alleged violations do not rise to the level of keeping him locked up.
Morrocco's lawyer, Joel Daniels, says his client is in the process of making arrangements to get the medical coverage he needs.
Morrocco said, "I'm thankful I'm not [going back to prison]. Now I've got another expense that I really don't look forward to paying right now. But if you want to live I guess it's a payment for life."
Before being released, Morrocco was order to abide by the conditions of his supervised release and the medical plan he's applying for through Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
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