Joseph Kaleel

Joseph Anton Kaleel (born around 1913, date of death 1982) and buried at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles was known as "The Egyptian", was a Los Angeles area card shark, bookie and onetime lieutenant of Mickey Cohen. His legal name was Antone Joseph Kaleel


Kaleel, of Lebanese descent. His first arrest was for vagrancy in 1931 at the age of eighteen. He became associated with organized crime in California as a "Card Cheat", he would frequent mob backed gambling houses and sometimes split his earnings with partners. In 1947, on one such occasion, Kaleel went to a Beverly Hills gambling house run by Los Angeles crime family capo Jimmy "the weasel" Fratianno. Fratianno agreed to let Kaleel cheat in his card room in exchange for a percentage of his earnings. Kaleel reportedly won $2,900 but refused to pay Fratianno, arguing that he owed his then boss Mickey Cohen $10,000 and had given it all to him to cover his debt. Fratianno then proceeded to beat Kaleel unconscious with a blackjack. The matter later had to be resolved with Cohen to avoid further confrontation. Fratianno claimed that the next time he saw Kaleel he had so much bandages on his head it looked like a turban.

In 1949, Kaleel was arrested in a LAPD raid and brought up on charges of illegal gambling, their were reportedly 200 people in the gambling hall at the time of the raid. In 1959, Kaleel was tried for avoiding the federal use tax for bookmaking in an operation in which authorities said Kaleel handled $50,000 a month in bets. In August, 1959, he was cleared of the bookmaking charges because the sitting Judge said he only took bets from friends and did not act as a professional bookmaker and customer based on witness testimony.

Kaleel was featured in the book 'The Last Mafioso' by Ovid Demaris. His date of death is unknown.

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