How did Todd Kohlhepp, registered sex offender, get a SC real es - FOX Carolina 21

How did Todd Kohlhepp, registered sex offender, get a SC real estate license?

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Todd Kohlhepp (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention) Todd Kohlhepp (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention)
SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Jennifer Waddell is trained to listen. She's the owner and hearing specialist at Sound Hearing in Simpsonville. So, when she had a bad feeling about Todd Kohlhepp, she listened to her gut.

"I started searching online and finding information out about this man," Waddell said.

She said more than a year ago when Kohlhepp was the listing real estate agent for a home she wanted to buy.

"Very erratic, weird behavior, creepy eyes and then making comments about the guns," she said.

She bought the home, but says during her closing meeting Kohlhepp acted strange.

"At the end of the closing he was bragging about his guns and stating how he was stressed out and how he was going to go shoot guns when he left," Waddell said.

She searched some more and found out he's a registered sex offender, a felon with guns, and a man armed with a real estate license.

"I contacted the Greenville Board of Realtors and they stated they knew who he was. They've had repeated complaints- had to bring him in several times to their office because of problems. And it was so bad that he left the county and took his license to Spartanburg. I contacted the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Department and asked to speak to the sex offender's office which I did. And she said he had to have special approval and he did," Waddell said.

And now Kohlhepp is locked up, charged with kidnapping after deputies with the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office found Kala Brown, a missing Anderson Woman chained in a metal container on property he owns. Brown's boyfriend, Charlie Carver, was later found buried in a shallow grave on the property. Additional human remains were located on Sunday and Sheriff Chuck Wright said Kohlhepp confessed to a 2003 quadruple homicide after being taken into custody.

"I do not understand how the state of South Carolina could allow someone with that violent of a history to have access to our homes in the entire Upstate at any time," Waddell said. "Lord only knows what he's done in those homes."

FOX Carolina wanted to know too. According to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Kohlhepp applied for a real estate license back in June 2006. Background checks were not in place at the time, but applicants are asked to provide a written explanation if convicted of a crime. FOX Carolina has a copy of Kohlhepp's application. It shows he checked "yes" about his conviction and provided this explanation:

"I entered into a verbal argument with my girlfriend who was also 15 at the time," Kohlhepp wrote. "I was charged with felony kidnapping due to the fact that I did have a firearm on me."

However, FOX Carolina learned from investigators Kohlhepp raped a 14-year-old who was not his girlfriend and he entered a lesser plea, which was kidnapping. 

"He continued to practice and build an empire that allowed him the money and the funds to build this compound and torture these people," Waddell said.

According to a state law called "Ground for Denial of Licensure," the LLR Department cannot automatically deny an application of someone convicted of a crime. It has to be reviewed or approved by the commission.

"This could've been prevented," Waddell said.

There is now a state law that requires background checks before obtaining a real estate license which went into effect, July 2014.

Below is a copy of the letter Kohlhepp submitted when he applied for his real estate license:

The Spartanburg Association of Realtors said the actions of Kohlhepp are not representative of the association and asks for prayers for the families of those involved.

"Our real estate community was deeply disturbed and shocked when we learned of the developing news from Spartanburg County.  The alleged actions of this real estate licensee are not representative of the professionalism of the REALTOR association or its members.  

At this time, the association is waiting for the results of local law enforcement’s investigation into the matter.  The South Carolina Real Estate Commission, the state agency responsible for real estate licensing, has been alerted.  The association has procedures to determine the appropriate sanctions – once law enforcement and the Real Estate Commission have taken action. 

In the meantime, please join us as we pray for the victims, the families of those involved and for all South Carolinians."

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