Two accused in Portage Co. fraud case head to trial - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Two accused in Portage Co. fraud case head to trial

It was another bizarre day in Portage County court. Ronald and Delores Disher are each facing felony charges. They're accused of fraudulently cashing Marie Jost's social security checks for more than 20 years.

On Friday, prosecutors said not only are the two involved in that scam, but they believe Marie Jost is dead and that Ronald and Delores killed her.

"We have a real life murder mystery on our hands," Assistant District Attorney Veronica Isherwood said.

Prosecutors dropped a bomb when they told the court Ronald Disher told two fellow inmates that his wife killed Marie's Jost, and they buried her body in Amherst Junction,

But, defense attorneys say those statements aren't credible.

"Usually the more serious the case the more common it is for people from the jail to want to provide information," Defense attorney Steven Sawyer said. 

Defense attorney's went on to argue that Marie's social security checks could have been gifts to her family. And because Marie's whereabouts is not known, there's no way to prove the couple was stealing. 

"We don't know Marie Jost, we don't know how secretive she is and whether or not she's capable of going and not telling anybody where she is," Sawyer said.

But, during the hearing a detective from the Portage County Sheriff's Department testified that Delores told authorities she'd kept in touch with her mother through letters. But, authorities say Delores also told a different story, when she claimed Marie's social security checks were endorsed with an "X" because she was illiterate.

"Evidence on the checks is that she was illiterate and had a stroke or both. So, she was unable to write her name yet she could write letters every month?" Isherwood questioned.

"We're going to look at all the police reports, all the statements, and the evidence and we'll know a lot more after that," Sawyer said.

Neither defense attorney called any witnesses. Right now Ronald and Delores Disher remain at the Portage County jail.

Now, Charles Jost, Marie's son, also faces the same charges. He was not in court. Charles will have a competency hearing to find out if he is mentally capable to stand trial.

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