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New Jersey Consumer Affairs Director to Step Down for Private Sector Position

Steve Lee

Trenton, NJ, August 9, 2017 — Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced yesterday that Steve Lee, Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, is leaving his post to take a job in the private sector.

Lee, who has led the state’s consumer protection agency since April 2014, will be going to work for Comcast Corporation as a Deputy General Counsel.

Lee began talks with the global media and technology company several months ago. His resignation is effective September 5.

“Steve Lee has served the Division of Consumer Affairs with an unwavering commitment to protecting New Jersey consumers from fraud and professional misconduct in the marketplace” said Attorney General Porrino.

“Under his leadership, the Division has created programs and launched initiatives that will benefit the public long after his tenure here. I am deeply grateful for his service.”

Attorney General Porrino named Deputy Director of the Division of Law Sharon Joyce as Acting Director of the Division effective Sept. 6. Joyce, who joined the Division of Law in 1979, has served as acting director on three prior occasions.

“Sharon Joyce is a consummate professional whose experience and knowledge more than qualify her to lead the Division,” said Attorney General Porrino. “I am confident she will serve as an excellent steward during this time of transition.”

Lee was a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York for approximately nine years before being appointed Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs by then-Acting Attorney General John Hoffman.

In June 2016, Lee was unanimously confirmed by the New Jersey Senate as Director of the Division.

During his tenure with the Division, Lee increased accountability for those who violate consumer protection laws and professional standards, oversaw initiatives to improve Division services, and launched educational programs to better protect New Jersey consumers, particularly senior citizens.

Among the initiatives Lee oversaw as head of the Division of Consumer Affairs are:

  • Advancing New Jersey’s battle against opioid addiction by expanding the capabilities of the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, significantly increasing access to this database for physicians and other medical professionals, and taking aggressive action against doctors and other health care professionals who over-prescribe drugs known to cause addiction. Last year, a record 31 physicians saw their practicing authority revoked, suspended or otherwise restricted for allegedly putting the public at risk by indiscriminately prescribing controlled dangerous substances.
  • Creating and implementing a state-wide fraud education initiative called “Fighting Fraud,” that has included regular outreach programs to senior citizens, veterans, and others vulnerable to fraud.
  • Modernizing the Division through the implementation of a new DCA website, applying improved technology to permit online consumer complaint filing across the Division and online charitable registration, making significant progress toward improving licensure and registration for the state’s registered professionals, expanding the number of professional boards that accept online applications and renewals, and overseeing a broad internal technology upgrade across all professional boards.
  • Protecting New Jersey’s senior citizens from physical and financial abuse through initiatives like the Anti-Fraud Toolkit that provides seniors with educational materials to spot and prevent fraud, and the Safe Care Cam program, which offers hidden surveillance cameras free on loan to families who suspect their loved ones are being abused by health care providers in private homes or residential facilities.
  • Significantly improving licensing processing times across the Division’s professional boards, including the licensing process for nurses and the certification process for certified homemaker-home health aides.
  • Working with the Board of Medical Examiners to ensure that appropriate discipline is imposed on doctors committing serious professional misconduct, including sexual misconduct, and ensuring that notice of such discipline is publicized and readily available to current or prospective patients.

The mission of the Division is to protect New Jersey consumers from fraud, deceit and misrepresentation in the sale of goods and services.

The Division consists of the Office of Consumer Protection, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, the Office of Weights and Measures, the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission, and 47 professional licensing boards which regulate more than 80 professions and occupations.

The Division is also responsible for managing the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, enforcing the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, and regulating the fund raising activities of charities in New Jersey.