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Miami Physical Therapist Assistant Convicted of Over $2.6M in Fraudulent Claims

On Feb. 16, a Miami federal jury convicted a local physical therapist assistant of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, and five counts of health care fraud after a week-long trial.

From May 2019 through February 2021, Tania Cesar, 55, of Hialeah, Florida, worked as a physical therapist assistant at Elite Therapy Group Inc. (Elite) in Miami, Florida. During this period, Cesar signed over 1,500 physical therapy notes for physical therapy treatments that she never provided to patients. Cesar’s false and fraudulent therapy notes led to over $2.6 million in claims billed to Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). Several co-conspirators testified, including the owners of Elite, describing the payment agreement between Elite and Cesar. Cesar would come into the therapy clinic once or twice a week to sign the therapy notes but never treated patients. Some of Elite’s patients also testified, explaining that they had never received physical therapy treatment, nor they had ever met Cesar. Furthermore, Cesar signed false and fraudulent therapy notes for treatments she purportedly performed on dates when airline and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) records confirmed that she was out of the country.

In addition, Cesar was working full-time at another physical therapy clinic in Miami, where Cesar logged hours that, when added up with the hours for purported physical therapy she signed for in fraudulent therapy notes from Elite, suggested that she was working more than 24 hours on multiple days.  

Moreover, Cesar had the same financial relationship with another clinic, Zion Medical (Zion), before she began signing false and fraudulent therapy notes at Elite. The owner of Zion testified that he and Cesar had the same agreement that Cesar had with the owners of Elite, Cesar would sign false and fraudulent therapy notes for treatments she never performed. These false and fraudulent therapy notes were also billed to BCBS as part of the scheme.

Sentencing is set for May 6 before U.S. District Senior Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. 

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of FBI, Miami Field Office made the announcement. 

FBI Miami investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Egozi and Lindsey Lazopoulos Friedman are prosecuting it. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Hyman is handling asset forfeiture. 

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at, under case number 23-cr-20259.