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Albuquerque MVD Now mistakenly issues 'veteran' license

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque man claims he's been getting special treatment he doesn't deserve because 'MVD Now' made a big mistake. Roman Castillo said he was given a veteran status on his driver's license that he didn't earn.

The MVD Now's mistake makes him wonder just how often this happens. Castillo said he didn't catch the mistake on his license until he noticed people treating him a little differently.

Castillo told KRQE News 13 being a veteran is an honor, and he doesn't want to mislead anyone.

Paralyzed from the waist down, Castillo was shot during a 2005 home invasion. However, he doesn't let his handicap hold him back.

Castillo drives a modified truck using hand controls, and even plays the drums. But he doesn't want recognition for something he hasn't earned.

"If you can check a box and become a veteran, it's too easy," Castillo explained. He said the 'MVD Now' on Unser and McMahon mistakenly issued him a driver's license last month with the word 'veteran' on it.

"I had to provide no documentation whatsoever," Castillo told KRQE News 13. "I mean there was nothing asked of me." He said a clerk helped him apply for a license renewal.

He didn't realize the mistake until people started thanking him for his service, and trying to offer him discounts.

Castillo's father, grandfather, and great grandfather all served in the military.

"Holding that pride sacred is I think just something that came naturally with our family," he said. "I didn't get to serve. I would have if I wasn't overweight a little bit," he said.

Still, he said some people mistake him for being a veteran. This recent assumption by the MVD Now has him very uneasy.

Castillo is worried he's not the only one this could have happened to.

"I believe if it happened to me, that it's probably been done, and if it's been done on accident, it's probably been done on purpose too," he said.

He also doesn't want people to take advantage of any benefits that are meant exclusively for veterans.

"This is the first time I've heard of it happening, I'm sure it's happened other times, and it just hasn't been brought to our attention," said Demesia Padilla, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Service.

Padilla told KRQE News 13 this case was a clerical error, and will be corrected at any state MVD location.

"We understand that humans are our clerks and there will be some level of errors," Padilla explained.

Until now, Castillo said he got the run-around trying to fix the error on his license. He wants veterans to get the recognition they deserve.

"In my worst nightmares I could see somebody being dishonest, getting a hold of somebody's records, taking on their identity," Castillo said. "They fought for us to live this freedom that we have now. I think that's important for people to get that recognition."

Castillo said he was told by the MVD Now since they're a private entity, that he'll have to pay fees all over again for a new license.

Padilla said privately run MVD Now locations will often charge extra fees to fix errors. She said any state run MVD Now will fix the problem without extra fees.

Secretary Padilla said the state will be looking into this problem, especially since veterans are required to prove their status with documentation in order to receive the special ID. Padilla said they're also putting together a quality control group that will randomly check MVD transactions to make sure they're correct.


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