|Philadelphia|  Harold - The Hunchback - Riccobene

Birth: 1909 - Sicily

Death: 2000

Harold "The Hunchback" Riccobene was a capo in the Bruno Family and had an intensive rivalry with Nicodemo Scarfo during the early 1980's.

Harry the Hump
Riccobene was born in 1909 and became a member of the Philly Mafia during the late 1920's. He later became a captain under then boss Angelo Bruno. A defect from birth, which caused his spine to curve, led to his nickname "Hunchback", and "Harry the Lump". Although having a harmless image Harry the Hump remains to have a legendary status in Philadelphia. He used to run several things, even out in the furthest and darkest suburbs of the city. He was also known for shoving away the old Mafia rules by dealing in Heroin and Methamphetamine. He even had his step-mother helping a hand out during those days. During the mid 1950's he was eventually arrested in Cleveland for dealing heroin and was locked away for 20 years.

Riccobene - Scarfo war
Riccobene was released in 1975 and together with his younger brother Mario started to run number rackets. A government expert then testified the Riccobene's had up to 35 men working for them. When both boss Angelo Bruno and his successor Philip Testa were murdered in respectively 1980 and 1981, Nicodemo Scarfo took control of the family. Everybody who wasn't supportive to that was punished with murder, for instance John Calabrese, who was killed in 1981. Riccobene, who remained loyal to Bruno and his ideas, also didn't support Scarfo. This led to a violent war between Scarfo and Riccobene.

Riccobene, who had started his own independent organization was soon on the Scarfo hitlist. In April 1982 Scarfo sent his consigliere, Frank Monte, to Riccobene's half-brother to convince him to set his brother up. He didn't accept and went to Harry to tell about Scarfo's plan. He then reacted with the murder of Frank Monte on May 13, 1982. 3 weeks later Riccobene was shot 5 times at close range while standing in a phone boot, calling to his 23 year old girlfriend. He reportedly fought with his attacker and managed to have him fleeing away. After being shot, he told the police he could not identify his shooter. On August 21 he was again ambushed while sitting in his car, but survived the gunfire without injuries.

Nicodemo Scarfo on the other hand remained free of murder attempts by being locked up in a Texas prison (the same prison where Joe Valachi was jailed 20 years prior). Scarfo however made it very clear he wanted to get rid of Riccobone. When Pat Spirito failed to kill Riccobene he was killed himself on April 29, 1983. By this time Riccobene and his half-brother Mario were jailed after being convicted of RICO charges. However, this did not stop the violence. In November 1983 another Riccobene loyalist was murdered and one month later his brother Robert Riccobene was murdered in his mothers house due to a shot in the back of his head. Afterwards Riccobene acted for one last time by ordering a hit on 3 Scarfo members, but the hit failed and Scarfo member Chucky Merlino soon announced that the war was over.

Mario Riccobene then decided to become a government witness after his 27 year old son had committed suicide out of fear for being killed and tortured. Due to his testimonies Harry Riccobene, Victor De Luca, Joseph Pedulla, Joseph Casdia and Vincent Isabella were all convicted for the murder of Frank Monte in 1984. During that time Harry also appeared on television and disgraced his name by declaring the Mafia existed. For that some also blame him of being a rat. Mario Riccobene was set free after a couple of years and went in the witness protection program. He was eventually murdered in 1993 after he had left the program. Harry passed away 7 years later in prison at the ripe old age of 91.

(Source: Allan May,,,

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