DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey

For Immediate Release

Monday, July 23, 2018
Craig Carpenito
, United States Attorney
Contact: Matthew Reilly

Verona, New Jersey, Man Admits Illegal Possessionof Multiple Guns, Including Replica He Turned into Machine Gun

NEWARK, N.J. – A Verona man today admitted possessing three guns as a previously convicted felon, including a replica Thompson submachine gun that he modified into a working automatic firearm, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

David Lutter, 69, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of possessing three firearms as a previously convicted felon.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In January 2017, Lutter met with an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and negotiated the sale of a functioning Thompson submachine gun. The gun had originally been a replica, but Lutter had modified it with real gun parts to convert it into a functioning automatic firearm, which, according to Lutter, could fire 20 to 25 bullets per second. Lutter had also equipped it with what he called a “rock-and-roll switch,” which could toggle between semi-automatic and automatic mode.

Lutter sold the undercover agent the submachine gun, a .32-caliber revolver, and 100 rounds of ammunition for $525. A few months later, in May 2017, Lutter sold the undercover agent a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, bullets, and gun parts for $500. When Lutter was arrested in June 2017, law enforcement searched a storage facility he rented and recovered several hundred additional bullets and firearm parts. All three firearms and the recovered ammunition are in the possession of law enforcement.

At no time was Lutter licensed to sell firearms and was prohibited from possessing them due to his 1993 felony conviction for sexual assault of a minor.

The illegal firearms possession count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 30, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the ATF Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould of the Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.


Defense counsel: Kevin Carlucci Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark


Newark Field Division