Marco Reginelli, born on January 2, 1897, in Neppazzano, Teramo, Italy, was the son of Saverio Reginelli. His journey to the United States began on May 14, 1914, when he boarded the steamship Taormina in Naples, Italy. After a month-long voyage, he arrived in Philadelphia on June 14, 1914, officially entering the United States on June 24, 1914. At the time of his arrival, his brother Nazareno was already living at 800 South 10th Street in Philadelphia.
In June 1917, Marco Reginelli could be found residing at 59 Pitman Street in Penns Grove, NJ. He was employed as a laborer at the E. I. DuPont chemical factory in nearby Carney’s Point, and he lived with Domenico Reginelli, presumably a brother. Although Domenico remained in Penns Grove in 1920, Marco had relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On January 1, 1925, Marco Reginelli encountered legal trouble in Philadelphia when he was arrested as a “suspicious character.” In 1924, he had been arrested twice on larceny by trickery charges, but both cases were eventually dismissed. However, in September 1925, he was sentenced to a year in the Philadelphia County Prison on conspiracy, larceny, and stolen goods charges.
Following his release from prison, Marco Reginelli made his way to South Jersey. In December 1928, he was questioned regarding gangland murders in the region.
By the spring of 1930, Marco Reginelli had settled in East Camden, residing in an apartment at 143 North 34th Street. Reports from that time indicated that he was married. In June 1939, he was among six individuals arrested on weapons and other charges, although, in Reginelli’s case, it seems the charges were not proven.
By June 1940, Marco Reginelli had established himself as a prominent figure in organized crime circles in Camden and South Jersey. He was living at the Plaza Hotel at 500 Cooper Street, and he had purchased a home at 2403 Baird Boulevard by April 1942.
Although Marco Reginelli had numerous encounters with the law, his only conviction up to the spring of 1950 was a Mann Act violation in 1942. From the mid-1940s onward, he had ties to 2403 Baird Boulevard in East Camden and frequented Sciamanna’s Cafe, also known as Sherman’s Cafe, located at South 4th and Royden Streets. At times, he lived at 426 Line Street in Camden.
In the years following World War II until his passing in 1956, Marco Reginelli, often referred to as “The Small Man,” played a significant role in organized crime, particularly as he rose to the position of under-boss of the Philadelphia family. Based in Camden, New Jersey, he expanded Mafia operations throughout South Jersey, including Atlantic City. Reginelli was responsible for building the famous 500 Club in Atlantic City, where entertainers like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis first teamed up. The 500 Club also hosted Frank Sinatra during the 1940s.
The U.S. government attempted to deport Reginelli, but his connections, including lawyer Murray Chotiner, who had influential contacts, thwarted these efforts. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in the mid-1950s but lost his citizenship shortly before his death.
Highly respected in Mafia circles, Marco Reginelli passed away from natural causes on May 26, 1956, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was interred at Calvary Cemetery in what was then known as Delaware Township, present-day Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Following Reginelli’s death, Dominick “Big Dom” Oliveto assumed his role, maintaining the criminal operations Reginelli had built under the leadership of Philadelphia boss Joe Ida. Oliveto was one of the many Mafiosi arrested at the infamous Appalachin conference in upstate New York in November 1957, and he subsequently made way for Angelo Bruno to take control of the Philadelphia and South Jersey mob.
By June 1940, Marco Reginelli had established himself as a prominent figure in organized crime circles in Camden and South Jersey.
Fred Klosterman and his brother Joseph were heavily involved in the illegal lottery, or “numbers” racket, in Whitman Park and South Camden in the 1930s and 1940s.
Marco said “you have a lotta guts walking in here for a handout” and reached into his pocket and handed the man $50.
Wiretap evidence against Philadelphia mobs is being examined by immigration agents in an effort to strip Marco Reginelli, South Jersey gambling czar, of his citizenship.
Maple Shade Progress – July 28, 1949 Maple Shade’s so-called “plumbing warehouse” proved to be just what residents suspected it to be – an elaborate gambling establishment.