All bets are off in gambling ring run by Muni workers

Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner File Photo

Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner File Photo

Two longtime Muni employees are accused of running a football-gambling operation out of a Muni yard in the Mission district.

Major Gray and Launce Yen were arrested following an undercover operation and cited for misdemeanor bookmaking two weeks ago, according to a police report obtained by The San Francisco Examiner. They were cited and released the same day.

Police and Muni officials claim the two men — one a vehicle operator and the other a maintenance worker — were distributing up to 400 betting stubs to Muni employees and other gamblers each week. The stubs allegedly listed the spreads on college and professional football games, and bettors could place wagers on the teams they believed would beat the spread.

Gray, who worked at the Flynn yard in the Mission, and Yen, who worked at the Kirkland yard near Pier 39, have each been employed by the transit agency for at least 20 years and both have good work records, according to Muni Operations Chief John Haley.

Haley said the two men were immediately placed on leave and the agency is pursuing “discipline to the fullest extent possible.”

Word of the alleged ring first came from a confidential source in early December, and officers immediately began surveilling Gray and Yen.

Police allege that Yen would give Gray betting stubs to distribute to gamblers, including Muni employees. Gray would then collect the bets and return the stubs to Yen, police said. 

After witnessing four such rendezvous, Officer Greg Latus, the lead investigator, said he determined police had enough probable cause to make a move. On Dec. 17, Latus and seven other officers waited outside the Mission Muni yard starting at 1 p.m., according to Latus’ report.

Two hours later, Gray arrived and drove his car into the yard, according to police. The officers watched Yen approach Gray’s open passenger window. Then, Latus said, Yen walked away with an envelope and placed it in the glass guard shack where he worked, and put something into his pocket.

Yen and Gray were immediately arrested.

In the envelope, police said they found 93 football parlay cards, new and unmarked. After searching Yen, they allegedly found a newspaper bundled around 91 filled-out betting stubs and $2,020 in cash in his pocket, and discovered a pay sheet, containing initials and dollar amounts, in Yen’s wallet. 

Gray told police that he distributed the cards for Yen, and as payment was allowed to play two cards for free each week. He said he had only begun distributing the cards this year, and confirmed that he had doled out many of the stubs to other Muni employees.

According to the police report, Yen confessed to picking up 400 betting cards each week from “Steve” in the Financial District, then would place the wager money in a gold-colored Lexus parked in Daly City. He told police he received about $100 a week through the operation.

Neither Gray nor Yen could be reached for comment.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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