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State investigators are looking into "irregularities" in the sale of hunting and fishing licenses in the California Department of Fish and Game's South Coast Region, which is run out of headquarters here in San Diego. Although Fish and Game officials are unwilling to reveal much about the ongoing probe, they confirm that agents from the state Department of Justice were called in after an internal audit found that many more licenses were missing from the five counties covered by the San Diego office than could be accounted for by recorded sales. Officials refused to estimate the scale of the discrepancy, rumored to be about $300,000. "The department's license and revenue branch...identified some suspected irregularities in reports from this office here concerning license sales," says Chuck Raysbrook, manager for the South Coast Region. "So...the audit branch did a review, including a physical inventory of license books that were consigned to this office, and they did a reconciliation with financial records. It's still open and, as a matter of policy, irregularities are required to be reported to the Department of Finance and the Bureau of State Audits and that was done in this case." Now, according to Troy Swauger, the Sacramento spokesman for Fish and Game, the DOJ has taken control of the probe. "They are investigating it," Swauger says. "As far as we're concerned, we handed everything over to them." Officials at the DOJ and the Bureau of State Audits declined to discuss the case.

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