Hearing for Wis. woman accused in fraud ring

Checks issued in deceased woman's name under scrutiny in fraud case

A 69-year-old Portage County woman is due in court on charges that she and others cashed Social Security checks belonging to her mother, whom authorities speculate died some 30 years ago.

Delores M. Disher has a preliminary hearing set for Friday afternoon. She’s charged with four felonies, including being party to theft and mail fraud.

Disher’s mother is Marie Jost, who would be 100 if she’s still alive. The Social Security Administration asked Portage County to investigate after the agency grew unsure whether Jost was alive.

Prosecutors say there’s no evidence suggesting she’s alive. But they say Disher, her brother and her husband have been cashing federal checks issued in Jost’s name.

Disher’s defense attorney, Steven Sawyer, says he hasn’t seen the evidence but will learn more at the hearing.