Patti Milazzo proclaims love for her husband, then signs his name on a mortgage
Mark Milazzo remembers the first time he had doubts about his wife, Patti. It was in 1996, before they even got married.
Mark, a police officer in Hoover, Alabama, had just heard a voicemail message for Patti Griffis, his girlfriend. It was from another man, who described in graphic terms the sexual encounter he planned for Patti.
Furious, Mark called Patti to break up with her. But Patti pleaded for an opportunity to explain. Mark agreed to meet her in a parking lot to hear what she had to say.
“She came out and begged and cried, and put on a show that no Hollywood actress could beat,” Mark says. “She literally got on her hands and knees and sobbed uncontrollably and swore on her child’s life that it was not what it seemed and that she had not had sex with this man. My head told me to get away, but she was so convincing that my heart gave in.”
Mark and Patti patched up their relationship, and Patti often sent him romantic cards and letters:
I love you so very much! Much more than you realize, & if you love me only 1/2 as much as I love you, then it would still be a lot (enough to keep us together forever)! I will always be with you & love you forever, I promise to be good to you & always make you happy. You will always be the only person in my life. (I will never want anyone else.) You’re my Baby & you always will be! I only ask the same from you. I have no doubts that we were meant to be. We are so perfect for each other in every way. Every day with you is better than the day before! I hope that in time you realize how much I love you, because I have so much love to give you. You won’t be sorry, I’ll never let you down (I promise)! I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. Forever & ever.
15 acres of land
Eventually Mark and Patti started looking for property together. Mark says he wanted to buy four or five acres, but they found a 15-acre piece of land, open and flat, in an area that he liked. According to Mark, Patti told him that she had $29,000 from a previous divorce that she would put towards the land at settlement. So they signed a lease-purchase agreement with the owner.
On August 27, 1997, Mark and Patti married. It was Mark’s third marriage, Patti’s fifth. (Mark says he found out about one of them by accident.) They lived in an apartment while Mark continued to make payments on the property, with Patti sometimes contributing.
The settlement date for the land was in late May, 1999. But according to Mark, when it was time to go to the closing, Patti said she had a stomach ache. The settlement was rescheduled for a few days later. When that day arrived, Mark says Patti told him that she just couldn’t go through with putting her money into the purchase. Mark had to scramble to borrow $30,000 from his family so he wouldn’t lose what he had already invested.
At the settlement table, Mark made Patti sign a quit claim deed, giving up her interest in the property.
Patti Milazzo buys a new home
Mark wanted to put a manufactured home on the property, which would cost less than building from scratch. Mark says that he and Patti looked at models and floor plans, but every time he wanted to buy a house, she would delay or postpone. Eventually they stopped looking.
In early January, 2000, Mark went on a three-day hunting trip. The night he got back, Mark went to his extra job at a bar, and his wife came in, all excited.
“Guess what, baby,” Patti said, according to Mark. “I went and bought us a house.”
Mark says that Patti told him she had put a large down payment on a manufactured home, and she would make the mortgage payments. “I was stunned,” he says. “I told her, ‘that’s great.'”
They installed a water line—at a cost of $1,100, which Patti paid—and had the house delivered. By the end of January, 2000, they were in their new home. Patti’s son from a previous marriage lived with them, and Mark’s daughter from a previous marriage visited on alternate weekends.
Five weeks later, Mark received an urgent letter from the mortgage company about a past due balance. When he called, Mark learned that Patti had forged his signature on the contract for the house, and hadn’t made the first payment.
Patti Milazzo signs notarized statement
According to Mark, Patti admitted forging his signature on the mortgage, pleading that she was in financial trouble but couldn’t bear to tell him. She wasn’t making the payments on the house—or on credit cards that Mark knew nothing about.
Angry, Mark demanded that Patti sign a notarized statement admitting the forgery. She wrote and signed the following statement:
“I Patti Milazzo signed (forged) my husband’s name (Mark Milazzo) and both our initials to a loan for our house purchased from Sunset Homes in Pelham. He was out of town on a hunting trip at the time. I told him I bought us a house, and did tell him I signed his name, but did not lead him to believe he was liable for the loan. I thought he was going to sell the property and leave me and I love him so much I did this to get us out of the apartment we were in and put us on the property he had. I told him our house pmnt was in the $400 range, for 15 years, when it is $556 for 30 years. I neglected to make our most recent pmnt and my husband received a letter in his name indicating such and that there was a late fee of $5. I also kept the contract for our house at my job and kept it there and did not show it to my husband. I have deceived my husband willfully and knowingly on this matter.”
Mark filed a police report about the incident. Then Mark filed for divorce. But he says that Patti pleaded again, writing him a letter that asked for one last chance. “My head was telling me to get out, but she would always play on my heart,” Mark said.
Throughout their relationship, Patti lavished Mark with what he thought was affection. “She did all sorts of little nice things for me that made me feel cared about,” he says. “She gave me love letters and cards daily that rivaled anything Hallmark could write.” On one card, entitled “Once in a Lifetime,” she added this note:
This card says so much about how I feel about you. I love you more than anything & you are truly the most important person in my life. (now & forever) you are my world, my everything .my love.my best friend.my obsession. I will always love you!!!
So after more tears, Mark stopped the divorce proceedings. He also took money out of his savings to rescue Patti from her debts.
A few months later, they got a letter from the IRS. Patti had been claiming her son as a tax deduction, which she was not eligible to do. Back taxes, penalties and interest cost Mark another $6,000.