A client of IHRB wrote a letter of demand containing 9211 words, outlining how he believes he had been scammed by IHRB and its owner Mr Sam Cohen. Despite all this damning evidence, it was like talking to a brick wall. Mr Cohen responded immediately with an email filled with even more lies, refusing a refund, and ending his email with, ‘Just do what you have to do,’ after he had said that I ‘can go to hell’. Here is the letter sent 1 May 2011. The revelations are amazing. The alleged scam is wide-ranging. The story is unbelievable. Everything in this letter has been verified. Only the name ‘Jack’ has been changed for privacy reasons. Here is the client’s letter in full, with some names obscured to protect innocent people. [Update: The result of the CTTT hearing is noted if you click here .]
Subject: Letter of demand
Dear Mr Cohen
As you know, I made an appointment and met with you on Thursday 28 April 2011 at 1:15 pm.
From the moment I walked into your office on Thursday, you started to tell me about a ‘war’ that you have been fighting. As a result of your many comments about your problems with Fair Trading and HCCC and some ‘black Lebanese poofter’, I went online and Googled your name and I am shocked to see that I have been scammed by you.
This letter is my first and only official request for an unconditional refund of $3,900 which I expect to receive within seven days.
You inspected my hair and said that you do not wish to take a photo because you were not happy with the results.
Indeed, I am not at all satisfied with the results. My hair has not grown at all, and in fact my hair has receded despite using your medications diligently in accordance with all your instructions. Worst still is that I have been suffering with a burning scalp while using your topical solution, which I told you about from day-one, and several times thereafter. I was astounded that during our meeting on Thursday 28 April 2011, despite telling you once again about my burning scalp, you specifically instructed me to increase the dosages of the topical solution (S4 medication) from 1.5 ml twice per day, to 2.5 ml twice per day, and you also said that I should be using 5 ml at once at night when I use your Dermaclean in the morning. This is not an approved dosage and not what my GP had agreed to when she issued the prescription!
You admitted that your Dermaclean is part of the problem. It seems that Dermaclean is abrasive, and it causes the Minoxidil to get deeper into the skin which makes Minoxidil more likely to enter the bloodstream, which is dangerous, as well as painful. I told you that it was forming scabs, was itching, and was burning every second day. You are not authorised to direct dosages. You were acting as a health practitioner, and you have no such qualifications. Your actions were illegal and most inconsiderate.
As you know, you made me write down all the instructions, which indeed I did, word for word, acting as if I were your stenographer. You then took that sheet of paper and photocopied it for your files, which thankfully means your fingerprints are now on that sheet, which you cannot deny exists and which outlines all the steps and all the medications that you wanted me to take. You are not authorised to direct clients in this way.
During our meeting, you said, ‘I should not be telling you this, legally, but I want you to take Loniten and Proscar.’ Much later in the conversation, you did say, as a matter of formality because you told me that you are under some unfair and supposedly unjust prohibition order, that neither Loniten nor Proscar are approved. But you said it was ‘not yet approved’ which led me to think that in due course it would be approved because you said that Loniten was approved ‘all over the world’, as if to suggest that Australia is the only country where the product has not ‘yet’ been approved. (Incidentally, you did not tell me that you are under a Prohibition Order by way of stating a fact as required by law, but you said it as a protest, saying that someone was trying to harm your business, and that you are innocent, and that you are fighting to have the Order removed, and that you have never done anything wrong (so now you are accusing the HCCC of being incompetent), and you said that you have never-ever given anyone any medications without a prescription. How could you say this to me when you gave me S2 and S4 medications without a prescription! And you only mentioned your Prohibition Order much later after you sounded me out to see if I had heard the news reports about you, and to defend your position, which is indefensible — so why do you bother?)
You emphatically stated that the medical community in Australia does not know what it is doing, and that the medication could not cause me any harm whatsoever, and that you do not agree with the medical experts, and that I should ignore everyone else and just listen to you because you said you are the expert who has been doing this for 40 years and you have doctors as clients. You were trying to convince me that everyone else is stupid or greedy or misinformed.
Your actions caused me harm, and caused me to lose my hair, to lose an opportunity to get real medical expertise, which means that some hair-roots within this 12 months could have died (something you warn everyone about in your ads), denying me an opportunity to get a real treatment. By your actions, I am also out-of-pocket for my travel and other expenses to visit you (over 46 km each way) and to visit several GPs, not to mention the ill health that I have been suffering, which I now believe was all due to the Minoxidil, after reading about the symptoms and after speaking with my GP last Friday 29 April who brought it all into focus for me. Previously I had not connected the two (my illnesses with your products). I have had to take time off work due to my mysterious illnesses which I now believe were due to your treatment. Besides, $3,900 is such a large sum of money. It takes a lot of work to generate this income after I pay taxes and expenses. That kind of money in your pocket is depriving me of other benefits such as putting that money in a mortgage and reducing my bank-interest or earning interest, (instead of paying credit card interest for you). I could have used that money to seek real medical advice about my hair, and obtain medications at a tiny fraction of the cost from real experts. Yet you have had my money for one year, taking advantage of my hard-earned cash, and delivering nothing to me that works. Even your first few bottles were crystallised by the time I got them home. Nothing from you has worked. From me, you took my money which has not failed in any way. And you took that money based on lies and illegal activity which amounts to fraud.
I have spent a few days gathering evidence against you, and I can tell you that I will not be falling for any more of your tricks. I have been on your treatment for 11 months and you admitted that I have not grown any hair. So I wish to invoke the contract which promises a full money-back guarantee. The photos you showed me (along with your website) included testimonials from clients who said that they received astonishing and amazing results in under three months. Therefore, I hardly think that the last 30 days of my treatment will see any such miraculous transformations, given that not a strand of hair has grown in the past 11 months. As far as I’m concerned, the contract period is now at an end.
The contract is very clear. However, I have since learned that one of your sneaky tactics is to put a stamp (terms and conditions) on the photos and you tell CTTT that a client has signed that they do not expect any hair to grow. This is absurd. Who in their right-mind would come to you seeking hair growth, yet agree that they do not expect their hair to grow? How is this logical? I now understand why you ask people to sign the photos. You con clients by later stamping the photos with something ridiculous like we do not expect hair to grow. Who would pay so much money for a 100% money-back guarantee, and then relinquish their rights and admit that they do not expect their hair to grow? What else do you think we clients expect? We pay top-dollar for a solution that you say is 100% guaranteed. And then you lie about clients freely relinquishing their rights. This is brazen fraud.
Any genuine signature on any of my photos was placed there to signify that the photo was in fact mine. If you have since placed such stamps on my photos, then your tactics will be useless because our contract is very clear, and your dozens of advertisements are equally clear. (I discovered that you have also forged client signatures (such as in the cases of Mr Lxxx and Mr Kxxx) and that you later stamped the photos unbeknownst to the client (such as in the case of Mr Pxxx) and you conveniently masked the agreed amended terms when defending yourself (in the case of Mr Cxxx). So goodness knows what trick you would contemplate in my case.
We entered into a commercial agreement that offered a full money-back guarantee and at no time did I relinquish or forfeit my rights. Why would I be so stupid as to believe that I did not expect my hair to grow and that I did not expect a refund? My girlfriend and I sat in your office and you showed us many photos of supposed success cases. Evidently, I am not one of those cases, and I now understand that your clients who did attain cosmetic hair growth, did so by placing their lives at risk. I never agreed to forfeit the contract which we both signed — the very contract that in Clause 5 speaks about you wanting me to be ‘satisfied’. I am not satisfied!
Besides, my whole defence will not waste too much time arguing about your abusive contract. I will be focussing on a range of things that you did illegally. Our transaction was based on a scam and on medical malpractice and on illegal activity by you, and this is easily proved.
1) When I signed-up and paid $3,900, you instantly gave me a bottle of 5% Minoxidil. This is a pharmacy-only product. You were never licensed to have (or allowed to dispense or sell) this Schedule 2 poison. You gave it to me without any of the due warnings. All this, as you well know, was illegal. Not to mention dangerous. I read in the HCCC report against you that you had sold medications to other clients, and you later told the Commissioner that the client must have stolen the medications. As you know, you can’t accuse me of this because I have my girlfriend as a witness who saw you sell that bottle to me on the first day we met, and I had no doctor’s prescription and I had no idea what I was taking home (other than believing your lies about it being herbal and safe), and you gave me no patient warnings and disclosed no side-effects and displayed no ingredients on the bottle that was branded with your company name on it, with the label saying that the solution was specially formulated according to IHRB’s specifications. Furthermore you told me that the topical solution was purely herbal. I had no idea what ‘5% Minoxidil’ really meant when I later read it on the bottle which you illegally gave/sold me for $3,900. Now I know it is a risky $15.00 product. You not only sell products illegally, you brand them with your company name and told me that it contains special secret Indian Curries. I would Summons you and the pharmacist on this and other points.
2) After meeting with you, and after you illegally sold me a pharmacy-only product, I did go to my GP (at your request) but my GP refused to prescribe ‘Minoxidil with Retin-A’ as you had stipulated. Eventually, under your misleading assurances that it was safe (saying that thousands of doctors had prescribed it), I shopped around as you had suggested and I presented you with my prescription which was for 3 (THREE) bottles, yet you proceeded to send to me a full year’s supply of over 12 (TWELVE) bottles, which means that you had now crossed the line from selling pharmacy-only S2 products during our first meeting in June 2010, to selling more than nine prescription-only S4 bottles without a prescription (plus the extras you sent due to crystallisation). You know that this is illegal. I have all the batch numbers to prove it. I have obtained a copy of my prescription to prove this, and if you do not send my refund, I will be Summonsing the pharmacists to obtain additional proof and data. If the pharmacist or any other pharmacist did dispense using my prescription, we will see if the batch numbers match with what you gave me for the first three bottles (and investigate whose prescription was used when you illegally sold me the other nine or more bottles). If he did not dispense my three bottles using my prescription, then you would have hoarded my prescription which would have been used for someone else illegally at a later date, or perhaps it was caught in the net during the police raid that executed the search-warrant in the presence of HCCC investigators. My prescription might be in the police archives and would no doubt be handy (and available under the freedom of information, now called GIPA Act) or indeed, if none of the above, I would issue a fresh Summons against you and IHRB and your pharmacist/s so that I can prove this point of you trading in drugs and perhaps tampering with the prescription (perhaps turning my ‘3’ into ‘13’ — being a tactic spotted by the HCCC) and/or hoarding my prescription for later use, and/or selling drugs to me while using someone else’s prescription/s. I have all four different batch numbers of the bottles you gave me, making it easy to execute a specific Summons and prove this point.
Just because the Permanent Prohibition Order did not take effect until 22 February 2011, and just because you were unbelievably lucky to not be charged, this does not mean that you have been exonerated for any previous misdemeanours, of which this was one, and which could be tried on its own merits, and for which I might seek special legal advice if you force me down a path that proves this point because then it would be my duty as a citizen to report it.
3) Retin-A has never been (and still is not, and is not likely to be) approved by the TGA to be used for hair. Experts have warned against this. The moment Retin-A is used, it causes the ‘topical’ Minoxidil to enter the system, and this means that any client using this formulation should have been given all the warnings that one would give to a patient using ‘oral’ minoxidil. As you can clearly read at Drugs.com, the warnings are dire and severe, and they specifically say that anyone taking ‘topical’ Minoxidil should be supervised and warned as if they were taking ‘oral’ Minoxidil, because of the risks of the medication getting into the system. Your Retin-A treatment deliberately (by design) forces the medication into the system, further assisted by your branded abrasive Dermaclean.
You have been warned and reprimanded about this, yet you persisted to tell me to take this combination. On Thursday last week you wanted me to go to a higher dosage from 5% to 10%. Anyone using Retin-A is doing something that is not recommended. This practice was criticised by Australian doctors and dermatologists as was reported in an article in ‘Australian Doctor Magazine’ — an article for which you were personally interviewed and in which you were quoted; so you cannot even say that you have not seen it. Besides, it was an article that was presented to you in one of the CTTT cases against you so you well know what the experts and the TGA have to say about using Retin-A.
You might think that you have nothing to fear, hiding behind doctors and blaming doctors for any medical problems. You are the one who sold these products to me (and you illegally supplied at least nine without a prescription (because my prescription was for only three bottles), after providing the first bottle illegally when we first met in June 2010). Last week you were asking me to increase my dosages and increase my percentage concentration — a double-hit that Drugs.com says puts me in the ‘oral minoxidil’ category which is a massive health risk and is never approved. You will insist that Loniten is nothing more than Minoxidil which you say is approved. Only 5% Minoxidil is approved, and it is not approved if you add Indian Curries to it, and the FDA says that Tablet Minoxidil is ‘not interchangeable’ with Topical Minoxidil.
When the HCCC Prohibition Order said you can’t handle prescriptions, you will find that the Commissioner also meant that you must not interfere with people’s medications and you must not act like a doctor by telling people what to take; while at the same time bad-mouthing the TGA and lying about the FDA. Ages ago we might have excused you as someone who did not know the facts. Now, after all that you have been through with sanctions, legal battles, clients suffering badly, HCCC, Fair Trading, and CTTT, plus other exposure and documents presented to you, you have been told the facts in great detail. So this amounts to you blatantly lying in order to inject me with drugs whose side-effects happens to include unwanted hair growth, just to make out that my hair had grown so that I cannot claim a refund and so that you can sign me up for another 12-month program at $2,700 which you asked me to do. This is all illegal and immoral. Besides, you know that any hair that does grow from these ‘catch-ups’ and ‘boosters’ as you call them, will fall out again the moment one stops the medications, yet your ads criticise your competitors who lock clients into a life-long commitment. At no time during your sales pitch did you ever tell me that my hair would fall out if I stop taking the medications. Your ads criticise your competitors about this point, and our contract clearly shows that you never expected me to be on medication for life, yet you never told me that any regrown hair would fall out if I stopped the medications. You hint at a maintenance program which is your way of trapping a client into a lifelong burden (assuming the medications do not grow unwanted, unattractive hair on any other part of the body which some users of Loniten and Minoxidil have reported and which is now a standard warning for these products, which you omitted to disclose).
So now we have Retin-A causing the skin to open up, to allow Minoxidil to get into the system, which is dangerous and not approved for hair and which you wanted me to increase in dosage (5 ml) and also increase in percentage (10%). Your Dermaclean product is also abrasive, thereby exacerbating the problem (to which you admitted), and your shampoo contains Sodium Lauryl Sulphate which your first pharmacist, the compounding pharmacist who worked with you for nine years before he dumped you after recent misdemeanours on your part, said in all his Patient Information Sheets for Retin-A that shampoos that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate should not be used because they lead to more scalp problems. The first pharmacist was so concerned about such shampoos that he wrote to each and every client about this when you and he were associated with Ashley & Martin back in 1999. At the time, Ashley & Martin tried to seek an injunction to stop the pharmacist, but he convinced Justice Beach at the Supreme Court of Victoria that it was vital for him to alert clients about such developments that affect clients’ health and hair. Something so dramatic could not have escaped your notice, given that you had worked at Ashley & Martin yourself and was the National Sales Manager and later also a Director of Ashley & Martin.
Your first pharmacist compounded for you for nine years, and he had stated on each and every Patient Information Sheet that shampoos with Sodium Lauryl Sulphate should not be used, yet you sold me your branded shampoos containing this offending ingredient as part of your treatment, along with Dermaclean and 5% Minoxidil mixed with Retin-A, which all go towards creating medical problems which were not foreign to you, given what some clients have testified against you to HCCC and via Marsden Lawyers through the District Court of NSW and to NSW Fair Trading including the client whom you irresponsibly advised (to the point of almost suffering an anaphylactic shock and cardiac or respiratory arrest), and another client who had to present at Sydney Hospital due to his scalp flaring-up with pimples filled with blood, thanks to your irresponsible advice and negligence. Yet despite my telling you many times that my scalp was burning, itching, and forming scabs and which you saw and noticed was obviously shedding skin which you said were dead cells, you did nothing more than tell me to use an even high percentage of non-approved 10% Minoxidil, at a higher dosage of non-approved 5 ml per day, along with non-approved Proscar and non-approved Loniten. The Health Department would be shocked at your flagrant practices so soon after your Prohibition Order!
4) Experts warn of fluid retention and heart problems, and suggest that anyone taking oral Minoxidil should first be hospitalised and under close medical supervision, and be placed on two other medications (diuretics and beta blockers), along with an extremely-low sodium diet. You knew all this, and you were reminded of it many times, long before I became your client in June 2010. Yet you never warned me about any of these, despite my telling you that I was suffering with scalp burns. You might try to lie about this, but do not forget that our contract has you noting on page-two that you might require me to take Loniten. (Not to mention the dozens of tablets that were illegally in your possession and seized from your office during the police raid on 22 September 2010.) Retin-A would have meant that the Minoxidil would have gone into my system, as indeed it did, causing me a hitherto mysterious illness. On Friday 29 April 2011, I visited my GP suffering with symptoms that are now all shown to be symptoms of Minoxidil. I visited the GP totally naively, not at all thinking that the two were linked, until my GP probed into which medications I was taking, and then it all dawned upon me and her. And on top of Retin-A, you wanted me to take Loniten oral tablets which would have aggravated the problem and increased the risks in a grand way.
5) At our Thursday’s meeting last week, you told me to go to 10% Minoxidil with Retin-A at 5 ml per day. This is gross negligence and completely illegal for you to direct my medications and to overdose me. What is your business? What service are you offering? You took $3,900 and gave me an S2 product that I could have purchased at $15 myself, then S4 products (most of which were not supported by a prescription). None worked, and your IHRB-branded medications caused me harm and pain, and now you want me to take additional dangerous medications while you think you can blame my GP. What value are you adding to this? What service are you offering other than ripping me off and behaving illegally in every way possible about every aspect of our engagement! You said you wanted to sue Channel 7 for saying that you were shut down. Indeed, you ought to be shut down because you do not have a legitimate business. You offer no expertise. You offer lies. You put people at risk. You take their money and waste their time. You have no business and you offer no service. You operate a scam. That is not a business. The Prohibition Order effectively does and has shut you down because if you obey it, you will find that everything that you do at IHRB can no longer be done. So your business is over. You have been shut down, but you refuse to respect the law. According to the HCCC, when next you breach the Order, you will be dealt with by the Director of Public Prosecutions whose powers to convict you could include prison terms and criminal convictions — a far cry from the lucky slaps on the wrist you have received so far. Your lies have emboldened you, but you are failing to appreciate the limits on the horizon.
6) What is even more astounding is that you also wanted me to go to my GP and request Loniten and Proscar. (You told me to shop around until I found one who would prescribe these (supported by your list of doctors whom you say have prescribed this before.)) You even showed me Dr Ronald Peach’s prescription. Does he know that you are breaking his confidence by showing his personal affairs to clients like me? Do you have approval from him to say that you can open his files and show me his private and confidential information? There are Privacy Laws in this country, and you had just violated those as well.
You did eventually say that Loniten is not approved by the TGA, but you wanted me to believe that it did not matter because you have been doing this for decades. And you insisted that Loniten was approved for hair all over the world. This is completely false, and you are giving bad advice that is dangerous. Loniten is never approved for hair in any shape or form and certainly not by the FDA and obviously not by the TGA, so how can you say that ‘it is approved all over the world’? You will be asked to prove this to the courts. You have been warned not to go anywhere near advising clients about Loniten other than to say that it is not approved, but you then take the next step via a begrudging charade by saying that Australia is not ‘yet’ approved, and then insisting that it is approved all over the world. Mr Cohen, it is NOT approved around the world. You should stop telling people harmful lies just so that they can grow some hair in order to call them your success story. Someone ought to contact every single client you have ever had and monitor their general health. Who knows how many people’s health you have damaged over time, when the client might not even be aware that it was your bad advice and products that caused their general health problems. I went to my GP last Friday totally unaware of the link between your harmful products/advice and my condition. This was an amazing revelation.
You just wanted me to go onto these dangerous products so that I could see a short-term cosmetic improvement at my financial expense and medical risk, which you never outlined.
7) On the piece of paper which contains your fingerprints, you asked me to write down what I should be requesting from my GP, and there, last Thursday, you told me to take Proscar, which is not approved, and you said that I should take 2.5 mg which I now learn is two-and-a-half times the approved dosage of 1 mg (which even at 1 mg comes with shocking warnings). It was all written on that sheet as you dictated every word. You cannot overdose me like this. No doctor would prescribe it like this, so you are asking me to ignore my GP’s script and the label and take 2.5 mg.
Furthermore, you insisted that Proscar and Propecia are the same product. Indeed they are Finasteride, but Proscar would need to be split, and the warnings for Proscar are that a split tablet could, if touched by a pregnant woman, result in the male foetus suffering genital deformity. Yet, Mr Cohen, I told you several times that I was planning to get married very soon and to start a family. You insisted strongly, earnestly, and most certainly that this was all approved worldwide, and that it was safe. You said that you ‘started’ the use of Proscar for hair in Australia, as if you are a great innovator and industry leader who set the trend for using Proscar — long before Propecia was invented thanks to your discoveries. What you started was a harmful practice that was and still is not approved. Propecia is there for a special purpose, and companies spend millions of dollars for good reason. You told me that Propecia usurped Proscar so that the ‘bastards’ can make more money. I say that the manufacturers are doing what their regulated industry requires of them to keep people safe. It is you who are making the money by offering nothing at all in return. You said that doctors do not like to prescribe proscar so that they can make more money from patients. This is pathetic. You bad-mouth everyone who does anything that does not suit your lies and malpractice. You said that I would see hair growth in six weeks if I take these additional non-approved medications. Why do I need to pay you thousands of dollars for you to send me to my GP to seek non-approved dangerous medications? How do you ethically ‘earn’ your money? By advising me to do harmful things at my expense? What is your role in all of this? You take thousands of dollars for nothing and tell me to go to my GP; so what is your purpose? What do you do? Nothing at all, other than spin lies about some Indian Curries that do not exist.
8) You have been told by the HCCC’s Permanent Prohibition Order that you must not have anything to do with medications. You were asking me to go to my GP, but you were directing the whole affair and bad-mouthing doctors and the TGA and the Australian medical system, and insisting that anything that anyone says about the side-effects of Finasteride is absolutely and completely and without a shadow of doubt, ‘bull shit!’ You said that there was no truth in the claim that anyone taking your dosages of Finasteride would suffer erectile dysfunction. I cannot believe that you would put me at such a risk when the packaging and the warning leaflets from the manufacturer Merck Sharp & Dohme state not only that erectile dysfunction is a real risk, but that it has been known to persist permanently even after patients have stopped taking it, and one US doctor has stated that he has known of patients who have suffered this permanent trauma even by men who had only been on Finasteride for as little as two weeks. He reported about cases leading to suicide. And you wanted me to take this for the rest of my life, saying that I would only ever reduce the dosage, and never stop the dosage, knowing that I am soon to get married and start a family — something I emphasised a few times again on Thursday! (For your information, the reality of erectile dysfunction can occur even at 1 mg, despite you saying that it is a remote risk only for those taking 5 and 10 mg.)
Merck also warns against the growth of male breasts that could also lead to male breast cancer. You insisted that it was all ‘bull shit’, to use your own words. How negligent is that advice?
9) Mr Cohen, your conduct has upset me tremendously because you raised the story about your personal ‘war’ and kept on disputing any wrongdoing. At first I believed you because you seemed so convinced that you have been innocently doing this for 40 years. But now I know what I know, first-hand. No matter what you accuse others of trying to do to shut you down, I know first-hand what you said to me and what you sold me and what my real results are. Nothing you can say to me will help in your defence about others and their supposed lies about you. I now know that everything that you protested about was filled with lies because I have experienced your malpractice first-hand, at my expense and pain. The claims made against you were in the public domain long before I became your client, but I was not aware of them. You obviously knew that the world was watching you, yet you did not modify your behaviour at all, and proceeded to con me to become a client, with my girlfriend present as my witness. Despite the exposure, you did not modify your behaviour at all. By the time I became your client, you persisted with each of your lies and your malpractice. On Thursday last week you brought this matter of public exposure to my attention for the first time, while protesting your innocence. I do not know why you even raised it with me. You told me about some ‘black Lebanese poofter’ who is allegedly out to discredit you. Just because I am of Middle Eastern heritage, I do not know why you would presume I would know which Lebanese man you are talking about, and frankly I do not care who he is. Since getting home last Thursday and investigating your background with the help of my contacts, I can see that I have been conned by you, and now I am to be counted as another of your victims.
What is even more sensational is that last Thursday you wanted to overdose me on not just one non-approved product, but ALL non-approved products, simultaneously. Retin-A is not approved, Proscar is not approved (and Finasteride is only approved for hair at 1 mg, but you wanted me to take 2.5 mg). Loniten is not approved for hair at all! And you wanted me to combine them all, just so that you can say that I grew some hair, and pay you another $2,700 for the second year to commence in June 2011 and to purchase your 10% Minoxidil/Retin-A solutions [at $600 per month] that anyone could buy at a few dollars elsewhere. What a rip off.
If you recall during our first meeting in June 2010, my girlfriend and I had asked you, during your sales pitch, if anyone has ever had to request their money back, and you said ‘no’, and you added that in all the years, you have never had to refund any money because all your clients were completely satisfied and you said that all your clients love you. Upon asking you again if not a single client had ever received a refund, you admitted that you had back then recently refunded money to one ‘cow’ for whom you felt sorry and who did not deserve a refund, but you were feeling sorry for her. I have tracked her down and now I know that it was Ms Exxx. I have access to all sorts of information, and if you force me down that path, I will drag it all out and obtain testimonies from each of your former aggrieved clients.
10) When I met you in June 2010, you said that your products were herbal, natural, and harmless. And you justified your fee of $3,900 as being for the Indian Curries, which you said were like your secret ingredients that you claim to guard as zealously as KFC guards its eleven herbs and spices. I fell for your trick of paying up-front to supposedly save $1000. I certainly did not like the idea of paying $4,900 and put it all on my credit card and paid interest, so that I can obtain your now obviously fake discount designed to just grab people’s money up-front. You insisted that your program was all herbal and natural, and I now know that these Indian Curries never existed. Any affection that I had for you as a human has evaporated with the revelation that you have looked me in the eyes and lied to me and my girlfriend in order to take my hard-earned money. Your Curries do not exist, and I shall be proving this at CTTT or any Court I go to, in order to seek my refund either against IHRB or you personally as the company Director who acted outside the law and who is therefore personally responsible for your actions. So even if IHRB has no money or is shut down, I will pursue you personally for my refund.
You perpetrate a complete scam that cannot be condoned. You add no value whatsoever. You proffer lies and continue to break every rule in the book, while thinking that you are clever by getting me to write the instructions down so you can later deny ever telling me to overdose myself on all the dangerous medications. You dictated every word that I wrote on that piece of paper, and you even helped me to spell the medical terms, but you were careful to not put your handwriting on it. That was too clever, but I have the evidence of your fingerprints which you placed on that sheet of paper when you took that sheet to photocopy it for your files. You might destroy the copy from your files, but I have your fingerprints, and the sheet is well protected and well hidden off-site in a friend’s metal safe.
You even had the audacity to suggest that, now that the 12 months were up, I would need to pay you $2,700 for the second year and the same again for the third year. What kind of scruples do you call this? You said that no one can make your special topical solution. You will need to prove what therapeutic effect your alleged Indian Curries/herbs/extracts have, and if you do prove they exist, you are proving that you are breaking the law by adding medications to a prescription that never requested them in the first place, so you are in a Catch 22. And if they do exist, you would need a TGA approval number on the product, which you do not have, so now: enter the TGA to investigate you, so that’s one more Government department to add to the list of the many who are pursuing you.
11) Mr Cohen, we have reached the end of the contract. You advertised the fact that you offer a guarantee. We have a contract that expires on the 4th of June, and during our Thursday meeting last week you admitted to me that you were not happy with the results, so much so that you broke the habit of a lifetime by refusing to take a photo which I would have used as evidence. You tell everyone in your hundreds of ads and on your website that clients should insist upon photos, saying that your competitors do not do the right thing and never give photos. And here you were, after I asked you to take my photo, you refused to take a photo because you knew that it would prove that your treatment did not work, which you admitted did not work by telling me that you were not happy with the lack of results. I did take a photo that day when I arrived home, so I have the evidence to add to my submissions.
You had asked me why I had not visited you sooner. I told you that I was waiting for your call, as you had indicated you would call me. You also had said that you would send me a form called a Progress Report, which you never did. Then you said that you had given the form to me in the sales kit. I inspected the kit upon my return and found no such thing. It was you who had just taken the money and abandoned me. I used your formula diligently according to your instructions, and you had given me 12 months’ worth of products, which I now realise is not the correct medical practice for dangerous products. No doctor would give a full years’ supply and leave the patient to their own devices, especially for a product like Minoxidil whose litany of side-effects includes ‘instant death’ and a range of other ‘serious’ heart problems. Drugs.com says that anyone taking ‘topical’ Minoxidil should be warned about, and monitored for, the full range of risks that would exist for anyone taking ‘oral’ Minoxidil. This warning was even more poignant considering the ill-advised use of Retin-A. Your negligence is astounding.
The only thing that you can do now is write a cheque and have it to me within seven days. I will not accept any of your phone calls. Everything must be in writing. I will not be returning any bottles because they have mostly been exhausted so there is nothing much to return to you, and it is illegal to use Australia Post to send Minoxidil via the post, and I do not wish to waste money on a courier or to drive in, expending petrol, tolls and parking for a 92 km round trip. I do not want to come in to see you. I no longer trust you.
If you disrespect me in any way whatsoever, you will be motivating me to turn my attention to your scam and contact every possible Government department to join the efforts of other angry former clients whom you have scammed and harmed and frustrated. There are many people out there who just do not have the energy to pursue you because they are intimidated by you, they are fearful of you, and they are too busy to fight your lies. No doubt they can be persuaded to provide statements to a fresh round of investigations into your misconduct that could well open the floodgates with a possibility of you being forced to refund every single dollar you have ever taken from each of your hundreds of clients because you have been operating outside the law for nine years (not to mention what you might have done during your days as a senior manager and Director with Ashley & Martin. You told me that there is nothing but malice in the rumour that you had embezzled funds from Ashley & Martin. The company’s own official statements had reported insider theft, and now there is a former employee willing to testify that you had deposited thousands of dollars cash into your TAB account, which you deny. Would you like this to be tested in a court? Would you like to be cross-examined by the creditors who suffered at the hands of the then appointed Administrator?
Back then, you had many dissatisfied clients like Mr Jxxx. People like him swallowed your lies and did not dare to speak-up against your scam for fear of attracting bad publicity or personal embarrassment in view of their public profile. However, those celebrities whom you conned and frustrated way-back-then, still hold a strong grudge against your scam and ill treatment and they have not forgotten you. They are now at an age where they no longer feel that speaking-out would be embarrassing or detrimental to their career. On the contrary, they would see it as a community-service and a civic duty to help others who are struggling with your malpractice. Their support behind my campaign will carry much more weight now than it might have done back then. They are seen as Statesmen who speak with authority. I would most certainly receive their support if I were to launch a campaign against you. They would feel it their duty to become involved, and it certainly would bolster their image and provide them with positive publicity — which turns the tables on why and how they were silent all those years ago.
I just want what is legally and rightfully mine. I need to focus on my wedding arrangements, and I do not want to have to get into a long-winded argument with you. However if you do not refund me what is legally mine, you would have frustrated me yet again, which will give me every cause and reason to pursue you in any court for as long as it takes, triggering additional media exposure about you.
I will not sign any document or agree to any of your terms. I am demanding a refund based on my consumer rights. So just send the cheque; otherwise prepare for a fierce legal battle that will be as wide-ranging as is legally possible. I am not alone in my efforts and I have a great team of supporters raring to assist me. Fair Trading was days away from blowing your cover wide open, but the recent State Elections and the change of Minister and the change of Government has dealt you another lucky strike. You are such a lucky man. So many things have stacked up in your favour, aided by your amazing lies. However, the new State Government has now settled-in, and I will not hesitate to resuscitate that campaign to brief all the new Heads of Department and Chiefs of Staff to bring this matter back on the agenda at Fair Trading in tandem with my other actions.
You might cry poor and tell some judge that you have no money as per your case with your pharmacist. If that’s your tactic, there is always prison for people who break the law, and indeed you have broken many laws. Since your Prohibition Order, I believe that you now fall under the purview of the Director of Public Prosecutions whose powers go beyond the slap on the wrist that you have so far been so lucky to receive.
I wonder if a wider case will re-examine your allegations that a former client of yours (Mr Sxxx) had stolen the products that he testified you sold to him. If that client can prove that you had sold them to him, and if that client has any evidence such as surveillance footage or audio files, then there will exist indisputable proof that you would have committed perjury while being interviewed by the Commissioner of the HCCC. This means that you would have lied to the most Senior Investigators at HCCC and to the Commissioner himself, Mr Kieran Pehm.
Shall we re-open all those cases and ask for a re-hearing based on fresh new evidence of you selling the three illegal medications to Mr Sxxx without a prescription, and prove that you had lied to HCCC? Ask your lawyer what would happen if that were proved against you. And ponder why the HCCC did not press the point at the time when you lied to them (mistakenly thinking that you had cunningly pulled the wool over their eyes). They had enough evidence against you to reach the limits within their powers. They had enough to issue you with a Permanent Prohibition Order. They did not want to go down the path of opening a case to prove your lies, because they did not need to. They had enough material to exercise their powers to the full extent of their jurisdiction. They were not naive to your lies. They just did not want to waste resources on something they had already proved (your many Breaches). But now the matter of lying to a Commission and a Commissioner is such a serious one, that it would be heard and tried in a different court. Government Departments and Commissions around the country would cheer any finding of a person lying to them, because they need to send a message to the public to discourage liars (by making an example of one) with whom they must contend each day. A guilty finding against a liar is one that will receive no mercy because it strikes at the heart of any investigation and denies people their rights, while obfuscating justice.
I encourage you to contact your lawyer and ask a hypothetical question along these lines: If it were proved that a person had lied to the HCCC Commissioner Mr Pehm and lied to the Senior Investigators, by someone coming forward with video and audio evidence that an unlicensed person did sell S4 products to Mr Sxxx, and that the person lied to the HCCC about the client stealing the products, and fabricated a lie about the credit card receipt being for shampoo (which, by a stroke of luck and genius, happened to add-up to the same amount); and what if the person who sold those S4 medications to Mr Sxxx never had a prescription for these products, knowing that the client had previously suffered terribly with serious adverse reactions, what would be the maximum criminal penalty for this person — and could it include prison terms and massive fines along with all legal costs, and would such a finding pave the way for other clients to claim damages for pain and suffering, and would this therefore open the floodgates for a class-action against that person by any client who wished to join such class-action for pain and suffering, in conjunction with other claims for automatic refunds to all former clients. Ask your lawyer if a criminal conviction would stay on that liar’s record and restrict his trade, future directorships, employment, credit, and travel, not withstanding that most countries now require that any entrant stipulate all criminal convictions on immigration papers.
Mr Cohen, I urge you to contemplate that scenario, along with a scenario of others coming forward with a range of other covert surveillance that proves a massive range of statements/lies/claims that you have been making over the past few years, proving many allegations against you that cover commercial and medical fraud.
If your lawyer does not understand the surveillance laws, and if your lawyer might tell you that any such evidence of video/audio surveillance would be inadmissible in a court-case against you, then please remind your lawyer of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW). The Act prohibits surveillance in Section 7(1) but don’t forget Section 7(3) of the Act that provides a number of exceptions to the prohibition, namely Section 7(3) says in Subsection (1) (b) that prohibitions listed in Section 7(1) do not apply to the use of a listening device by a party to a private conversation if: (b) a principal party (being any IHRB client) to the conversation consents to the listening device being so used, and the recording of the conversation: (i) is reasonably necessary for the protection of the lawful interests of that principal party (being any IHRB client).
Note that Section 4 of the Act defines a ‘principal party’ to a private conversation to mean ‘a person by or to whom words are spoken in the course of the conversation’. This means that a principal party to the conversation may be the person (client or prospect) who uses, or causes to be used, the listening device, and it is only necessary for that principal party (not you) to consent to the use of the listening device.
The case of Mr Sxxx would be heard because you had lied about him and about your illegal transaction. He was scammed, conned, and mistreated, and now you are accusing him of the crime of stealing, while lying to a Commission of inquiry. And when it is proved that you lied to the HCCC, then any and every other principal party would have a very good reason as to why they needed to protect their lawful interest, being that they feared you lying about them and wrongfully accusing them of committing a crime or lying about the transaction with you. In simple terms, you would have a snowballing effect, a domino effect, and the opening of Pandora’s box.
Mr Cohen, I urge you to refund my money within 7 days.
Dated 1 May 2011
P.S. You might try to say that IHRB has no money or that it is no longer operating. That is fine because you have been a Director of that company. As you will no doubt find out, an employee (and especially a Director) of a company who operates illegally is not protected by the company, and you will be sued individually/personally/privately because your actions were illegal and not within your scope as a protected employee/Director of IHRB. Ask your lawyer about this. You personally did the wrong thing. So you are personally liable, and not your company, whether or not it shuts down. So even if you terminate IHRB, you are still responsible for all the misrepresentations that you made outside of any company parameters. Additionally, a Director of a company can be pursued, and his personal assets would be available, if it can be shown that the Director acted improperly. Furthermore, saying that IHRB cannot afford to pay, will open a new inquiry into the liquidity of IHRB. This means that if it were found that your company is (or had ever been) operating while insolvent, that is yet another offence which would rope-in ASIC and its investigators, even if you de-register IHRB.
P.P.S. I heard you speak badly about some ‘black Lebanese poofter’ whom you told me you will arrange to have ‘killed’ soon. If now you are going to contact me in any way or harass me in any way (directly or indirectly), I will go to the police immediately, because you are a scary dangerous man who does not know how to operate decently in a civil society. Although you scare me, you will not stop me and my group of supporters from pursuing you for my rightful refund. Any threats emanating from your camp will be dealt with swiftly via the police. And any matter that is prolonged will incorporate my suing you for court costs and legal costs as well. If you do not believe that you owe me the money, then let’s just go directly down a legal path and allow the authorities to decide. I already have most of the information I need to trigger my case, so let’s proceed post haste, and you can expect to receive a Summons without delay .