TRENTON – New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that three longtime public servants will assume the leadership of key Divisions within the Department of Law and Public Safety. Michelle Miller will lead the Division of Law, Veronica Allende will serve as the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, and Governor Murphy will nominate Tracy Thompson to serve as the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.
“The heart and soul of this Department are the career officials who have spent their professional lives in public service. Today, we’re moving three of them into key leadership positions,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Michelle has been one of the state’s most skilled and dedicated advocates in the Division of Law for more than twenty years. Tracy has spent the last two decades accumulating invaluable experience as a prosecutor, investigator, and administrator. And, after a stint as a federal prosecutor, Veronica returns to the Division of Criminal Justice to take the helm of a Division where she produced extraordinary work for many years. I look forward to what they will accomplish in their new roles.”
Michelle Miller, who currently serves as the acting director of the Division Law, will become permanent in this position. She was appointed acting director of the Division of Law effective July 13, 2015. The Division of Law, comprised of more than 500 lawyers, serves as legal counsel to the Governor, 15 state departments and over 400 agencies of State government and is responsible for approximately 29,000 legal matters pending in state and federal trial and appellate courts, including the New Jersey and U.S. Supreme Courts.
Miller joined the Division in 1995 as a Deputy Attorney General in what was then referred to as the Education, Health & Human Services Section. She became an Assistant Section Chief of that section in 1999 and in 2003 was appointed Section Chief. While in the Education Section, Miller worked on many notable cases including Abbott v. Burke. Miller remained Section Chief until 2010, when she assumed the post of Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Administrative Practice Group. In 2014, she was appointed as a Deputy Director of the Division of Law where she continued to have significant involvement in the Administrative Practice Group and focused on the Division’s administrative issues including hiring, training and other personnel matters, billing practices, and effective case management. Prior to joining the Division of Law, Miller completed an Appellate Division clerkship with the Honorable Erminie Lane Conley. She received her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Veronica Allende rejoins the Division of Criminal Justice after a year and half at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, where she served as an Assistant United States Attorney investigating and prosecuting individuals committing a variety of federal crimes, including firearms offenses, child exploitation, and white-collar fraud. The Division of Criminal Justice oversees New Jersey’s unified, integrated system of law enforcement. Its 500 investigators, detectives, lawyers, and professional personnel are charged with investigating, enforcing and prosecuting criminal activity. In addition to its direct law enforcement operations, the Division provides oversight and coordination to the State’s law enforcement community at the state, county and municipal level to ensure the safety and security of all New Jersey residents.
From 2007 to 2016, Allende served as a Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Criminal Justice, first working in the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, and later joining the Official Corruption Bureau. Among other responsibilities, Allende served as a member of the Attorney General's Shooting Response Team, where she investigated officer-involved shootings. In 2015, Allende was promoted to Deputy Bureau Chief of the Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau, overseeing the Computer Crimes Unit, which investigates and prosecutes child pornography and other computer-related criminal activity. Before her career in public service, Allende practiced land use and commercial real estate law with the law firm of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer. She received her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law. Allende holds a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Elie Honig, who has served as the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice since 2013, is leaving the Department of Law and Public Safety for a new role. In order to allow for a smooth transition, Director Honig has agreed to remain in his position until he departs for his new role. During this time, Allende will serve as Counsel to the Director, and upon Honig’s departure, Allende will assume the position of Director.
Tracy Thompson has spent 25 years as a prosecutor, first with Mercer County and later with the State. As Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, Thompson will oversee a staff of approximately 100 who investigate and prosecute all types of insurance fraud, including health care, auto, Medicaid, disability, unemployment, and worker’s compensation. This Division also coordinates the anti-fraud activities of the state and local investigating agencies and prosecutors.
In 2017, Thompson was appointed as Counsel to the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. In that role, she advised the Director on a broad range of law enforcement policy matters, oversaw the Division’s Litigation Academy and served as a liaison between the Division and other governmental agencies. Since 2013, Thompson has also served as chair of the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force where she represented the Attorney General and worked with the National District Attorneys Association’s Human Trafficking Working Group. She also served as faculty to the National Attorneys General Trial & Research Institute and the NJ Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute. Thompson has served in several capacities in the Department of Law & Public Safety, including: Deputy Director of the Office of Government Integrity; Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Fiscal Oversight; Special Assistant to the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice; and in the Financial Crimes Unit. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Thompson served as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for 9 years where she headed the Domestic Violence Unit and prosecuted child abuse, sexual assault, arson and narcotics cases. Thompson received her law degree from Temple University School of Law and an undergraduate degree in African-American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Thompson will begin serving as Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor effective March 26. Governor Murphy will formally nominate Thompson to the position which is subject to the advice and consent of the State Senate.
“Both Elie Honig and Christopher Iu have demonstrated true leadership to the Department of Law and Safety. Elie Honig has been instrumental in advancing community-policing initiatives and prosecuting corruption and criminal activity. Chris Iu has taken strong action to investigate and prosecute insurance fraud, and has highlighted the significant costs that are passed onto New Jersey policy holders and taxpayers as a result of insurance fraud. I want to thank them for their leadership and wish them well in their new endeavors,” said Grewal.
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