IHRB’s new office is raided

IHRB’s new office is raided

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This is a case of ‘good news’ being ‘very bad news’. In September 2010, Sam Cohen’s Pitt Street office was raided. Then in November 2011, his new Leichhardt office was raided. Initially, Police and Health Officials entered the Pitt Street office with a search-warrant and found heaps of damning evidence that resulted in Sam Cohen and IHRB being issued with a Permanent Prohibition Order. It was water off a duck’s back. Mr Cohen continued to trade and continued to deceive his clients. His unlawful advertisements became even more misleading than ever. According to Mr Cohen, his business suffered. I do not believe that it suffered from the adverse TV exposure, but from being unable to supply medications after his first pharmacist dumped him, and later his second pharmacist dumped him (while Sam Cohen refused to pay his bills, owing both pharmacies heaps of money).

Sam Cohen claimed that he was finding it difficult to afford his Pitt Street rent, so he moved to new offices in Leichhardt. This notion of ‘being poor’ was one side of the sob-story that he told Officials. The other side of the story, which he told his clients, was that he moved 7 km away to better premises where parking is better (but not really). The letter he sent-out is reproduced at the bottom of this Article.

THE SECOND RAID

Then on Friday 4 November 2011, being just over one year since the first raid, Health Officials conducted an un-announced visit, descending on 9 Renwick Street in Leichhardt to check if Sam Cohen was breaching the Prohibition Order. It’s great to know that HCCC is doing its best to protect the public. Officers conducted a thorough inspection. Did they find any medications on the premises? No. If they had, Sam Cohen could have landed himself in court on serious criminal charges. However, while this second raid on his new office seems to paint a picture of good news, I dare say that it opens up a whole new can of worms. The ‘good news’ for Sam Cohen is really the beginning of ‘very bad news’.

IHRB's new office is at 9 Renwick Street, Leichhardt. It was formerly occupied by Alexia Romana, a Photo & Video store that specialised in wedding photography. Before that, it was a florist shop called 'With Passion'. This is a 30 sqm shop with two bedrooms, a kitchen, and bathroom. Its rental asking price was $530 per week. By the way, the new glass frontage shows IHRB's logo and the words, 'More hair or your money back ... Guaranteed'.

WHY IS GOOD NEWS, VERY BAD NEWS?

We now enter a new phase, comprising serious problems in relation to IHRB. Before I explain it, here is an analogy: Imagine if you had been purchasing diamonds from your local jeweller. You paid ten-times what any diamond is worth, because you believe that they are the rarest of all the diamonds in the world. One day, the jewellery store was raided and police found nothing but glass. The rare diamonds were nowhere to be seen. The jeweller was over the moon. The police raid was a non-event. No charges were laid. No crime was committed. No rare diamonds were discovered. Great news. The jeweller does not have to go to jail. However, this ‘good news for the jeweller’ is ‘devastating news for the clients’ who have been forking-out heaps of money for diamonds, and now they realise that they have been buying glass. This is an example of ‘good news for the seller’, being ‘very bad news for the buyer’. The buyers have been duped. They have been conned.

This analogy serves to explain that, while Sam Cohen was spared heaps of legal trouble when Officials could not find medications on the premises (which is not to say that he was not in breach prior to the raid, and not to say that he does not have a stash of medications tucked away elsewhere), he now enters a new twilight zone where distant boulders of trouble can be seen hurtling towards Leichhardt, because Sam Cohen must now explain to his clients what he has been sending to them. All along, his clients have been ordering Minoxidil topical solutions. In emails to a client in October and November 2011, Sam Cohen admitted that he has not been sending Minoxidil. If Sam Cohen is lying, and if he was selling Minoxidil, he would have been committing a criminal offence. If he is telling the truth and he has not been shipping Minoxidil, then he is still in hot water because this would be like selling glass while charging for diamonds. This is more than a Catch-22. This is like a three-dimentional Catch-44. If you can really grasp the severity of this situation, you will see that it is much more than double-jeaopardy.

It’s a case of damned if he did, and damned if he did not.

DOUBLE BLUFF

Allow me to complicate the case. What Sam Cohen said to his client (about not selling Minoxidil) might not be true. Mr Cohen said that he has not been shipping the Minoxidil. But that’s just Mr Cohen’s word, which to me means diddly-squat. We will soon receive lab test-results. It could well be that Sam Cohen’s denial is nothing more than a double bluff. (Keep in mind that this story does not yet touch on whether or not any of his bottles contain his secret natural extracts.)

This photo shows that IHRB has been selling products in these white, unlabelled bottles. This is illegal, irrespective of whether or not the bottles contain Minoxidil or only the phantom natural extracts because therapeutic goods must comply with a range of Codes, including how bottles are labelled. If the bottles were Minoxidil, he is in trouble with the Health Department and could face jail. If the lab tests show that they do not contain Minoxidil, he is in trouble with the Law in relation to fraud, because his client (and many more, I should imagine) were of the understanding that they were paying top-dollar for Minoxidil. Now he is saying he has not shipped Minoxidil for twelve months (since October 2010).

Of course, Mr Cohen might say that some clients have been receiving Minoxidil via his pharmacist in Fairfield, called Elias Pharmacy. Let’s now explore this additional dilemma.

THE MYSTERIOUS ELIAS PHARMACY

In the case of the current client (let’s call him Victor) who is having problems with Sam Cohen, Elias Pharmacy was contacted, and the response was that the Pharmacy does not know of this client. The pharmacy says that it has no record of this client. Elias Pharmacy is the third pharmacy in the chain. Victor contacted the second pharmacist, who also stated that Victor was never in his system. As for the first pharmacist, we learn of so many irregularities that I will post a new article about that in due course, after the legal case, because it points to big-time fraud by IHRB and someone tampering with the doctor’s prescription.

Then we have the mysterious postal bags. Using Yellow Express bags from Australia Post, products were being sent to Victor and to other clients who have contacted me with more evidence. The bags show the sender as: ‘Roberto (Sam) 02 9221 5300, 37-41 Ware St F/Field NSW 2165’. The phone number is the old IHRB phone number which is being re-directed to the Leichhardt office. So we have an IHRB phone number, but an address in Fairfield which is the Elias Pharmacy address. The sender’s name is shown as Roberto. We know that Elias Pharmacy does employ a pharmacist by the name of Roberto Gustavo Mamblona who was first registered on the 9th of January 2008. Inside these bags, Victor has been receiving bottles that are totally unlabelled. Other clients have received similar bags with unlabelled bottles. Elias Pharmacy denies sending them. So why was anyone from IHRB sending these bags, while suggesting that the sender was Roberto from Fairfield? I believe that Mr Cohen knew that it was illegal for him to send medications to clients. He wanted everyone to believe that his pharmacist was sending the medications. Mr Cohen did not want anyone to think that he was breaching the Orders by handling medications.

When questioned about this, Mr Cohen said that the bottles do not contain medications. He says they only contain Activance mixed with his secret herbal extracts. Activance is a hair-care product that is sold at most hairdressers. So now Mr Cohen is saying that he is buying Activance and adulterating the formula by adding his own extracts, while his customers think they are buying and paying for Minoxidil. The manufacturer of Activance is none other than his first pharmacist, to whom he still owes a lot of money. The first pharmacist is the very pharmacist who dumped Sam Cohen after almost a nine-year business relationship, after the pharmacist found out that Sam Cohen was acting illegally. The very pharmacist who told me that he is not supplying Activance to IHRB. So it would seem that Sam Cohen is buying Activance from his local hairdressers or is asking someone to procure them on his behalf.

Now we have to work out if the bottles illegally contain Minoxidil, or if they contain Activance, or if they just contain water and some herbal extracts, or if they just contain water with some food colouring. Either way, we will find out after the lab-test results are finalised. We are holding-off on announcing all of these discoveries for strategic and legal reason. All in good time.

Incidentally, using this Activance ‘Hair Stimulant with Rhodanide’ opens yet another avenue of complication because when the Police first raided IHRB’s Pitt Street office, there was a box inside IHRB’s storeroom on which the word ‘Rhodanide’ was written. So now we have to wonder for how long Sam Cohen has been substituting Minoxidil for Activance (two completely different products) — either in order to save money, or to supply something (anything) to clients who suffered reactions/rashes due to Minoxidil. IHRB’s deceptive contract says that a client who cannot take the medicated (Minoxidil) formula, cannot claim a refund until they first try the non-medicated version. This was Sam Cohen’s way of clutching clients and exhausting them. This is also such a long story that it needs its own article in due course. For now, if we find that Sam Cohen has been selling a topical solution that contains Activance, he would need to provide scientific evidence that he has been adding his secret herbal extracts. He must also prove that his formulation does work (and I mean hard-core scientific proof from independent laboratories that would have conducted independent scientific/clinical trials).

$252 vs $12,319

If his formulation is nothing more than Activance with some vitamins (instead of the non-existent secret extracts), he would have to justify his prices. Vitamins would add no more than $2 to the overall costs. Activance is available at most hairdressers. It retails online from Activance.com.au for $55 for this 200 ml bottle. In the past, IHRB had used 100 ml bottles. Now, IHRB’s new white bottles are 80 ml, which Sam Cohen sells at $225, all the way up to $900 per bottle. Activance only requires 2.5 ml per day, whereas Sam Cohen advises clients to use 3 ml per day. So on a per-millilitre basis, over a period of one year, you can purchase Activance from the retailer at $252. Or you can get ripped-off by Sam Cohen and pay $3,080 per year. This means that Activance will cost you 69 cents per day, or IHRB can charge you $8.44 per day. That’s not counting the high-end bottle on IHRB’s price list that sells at $900 per 80 ml bottle which would come to $12,319 per year instead of $252 (that’s after you would have paid him his starting fee of $4,900 (I paid $3,700) just for the privilege of shaking his hand and walking out with detergent which he calls Organic Shampoo and perhaps non-approved medications without a prescription (as happened in my case and in other reported cases). By the way, with or without a prescription, it would still have been illegal for Sam Cohen to sell those medications. That’s why he was found guilty by the Health Care Complaints Commission.

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

How did all this information surface? What was the spark that ignited this convoluted investigation? I had a Poirot-moment. Poirot is Agatha Christie’s private detective who uses his ‘little grey cells’ to solve crime. For Poirot, there is usually one ‘ah-ha’ moment that exposes one tiny detail. It’s usually something insignificant and almost invisible. Yet, the seemingly imperceptible clue becomes the linchpin that closes the case. Three elements came together in my mind. When they collided, I experienced a spectacular Poirot-moment.

The first element was embedded in my mind around 1977 when I was watching the film, ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World’. It’s a film about a thief who has an accident while running away from the police. Just before he dies, he tells a group of strangers who stopped to help him, that he had hidden the stolen fortune under a ‘Big W’. The strangers race each other to the specified Park, hundreds of kilometres away, each trying to decipher what was meant by the ‘Big W’. Eventually, it dawns upon them that the palm trees in the park form the shape of a big W. For quirky reasons that perhaps only psychoanalysts could tell us, anytime I hear a phrase concerning the letter ‘W’, I visualise the scene in the film when some of the bounty-hunters, in their New York accent, say, ‘It’s the Big Double-Ya’. That was the first building block that sparked the Poirot moment.

The second piece of the puzzle was this sign, posted on the door of IHRB’s vacated Pitt Street office. It reads, ‘We are relocating to 9 Renwick St Leichhardt. Please forward all correspondence to address above. Contact phone no 9221 5300.’ There was another number that had been rubbed out. The office was completely empty. It was the end of an era at Suite 1, Level 5, 105 Pitt Street, Sydney.

The third element was the Australia Post ‘Yellow Express Bag’ that was sent to Victor. It took three months of looking and wondering and thinking and probing and scrutinising. Something was not adding up. Who was sending these bags? Why was the sender ‘Elias Pharmacy’ while the phone number was that of IHRB? How could Elias Pharmacy say that it had never heard of Victor? Many such baffling questions remained unanswered. After feeling pestered by similar intense and annoying queries, the three elements collided, being: 1) The Big W; 2) The relocation sign; and 3) The handwriting on the post bag. It was mental combustion. Poirot would have been proud. When I stopped thinking about Sam and the bottles and the pharmacist, I started to observe the evidence ‘artistically’ and ‘graphically’. It happened one afternoon when I was just staring at the post bag. I was not thinking. I was just looking. And it occurred to me that the ‘W’ seemed familiar to me. I thought, ‘Why does the Big-Double-Ya on this Post Bag beckon me? What is it about this Big-Double-Ya that is suspicious? Where had I seen this handwriting before?’ I could smell a rat. I could not work it out, but I knew I must try. I froze. My phone was ringing, but I ignored it. I did not move a muscle. I realised that something was amiss. If only I knew what I was aching to know. What was it about that Big-Double-Ya on that Yellow bag?

All this time, I was under the misapprehension that the bags were sent by Elias Pharmacy. It’s bad form to labour under misapprehensions. It’s better to dismiss all assumptions. The handwriting hadn’t meant much to me, because I just assumed that it was written by Roberto or one of his staff. At no time did I think that Sam Cohen could be so stupid as to handle medications, considering that he could face a jail sentence if caught! It’s like going to Singapore and not being searched at the airport. Singapore runs one of the most frightening airports, yet it is the fastest to process its passengers. It’s virtually non-stop off the plane and out the door into the city. People importing drugs into Singapore face the death penalty. So why do the Security Guards just let so many people out the door without searching them? I think it’s because the Security Guards do not have to wonder which passenger has smuggled drugs. Rather, they look at each passenger and process a different thought along the lines of, ‘Does this passenger look stupid enough to be prepared to risk the death penalty?’ This is an entirely different way of assessing people. Does this look like a stupid passenger? That’s where I had failed. I thought that Sam Cohen would not be so stupid as to handle/sell/post the medications. Erroneously, I had given Sam Cohen more credit than he deserves. I had released him from my sights, and thus, he was off the radar… until that Big-Double-Ya teased me. Where had I seen that ‘W’ before? I recall seeing that handwriting somewhere… recently… not sure where… search all my paper files… search all my computer files… check the scanned images… inspect the photo files… not sure what I was looking for, but I just knew that I had seen that handwriting very recently on something else. Eureka! It was the relocation sign.

The 'W' written on the relocation sign was in the same handwriting as that on the Yellow Express bags used by IHRB to send out the topical solutions. Note how the middle-point of the W is off-center, nudged to the left. That makes the handwriting unique. After this discovery, I assessed all the other characteristics, and engaged a handwriting expert, and sure enough, same handwriting, now believed to be that of IHRB's receptionist/office manager who I think is the woman who happens to be Sam Cohen's daughter or step-daughter or relative of sorts. I would hazard a guess that her name is Cristy. If indeed it is who I think it is, and if it turns out that any of the bottles sent to Victor (or to any other client) after the Prohibition Orders were in place, then I suspect that Cristy would need urgent independent legal advice, because it would seem to me that Sam Cohen would have implicated her in possible criminal activities, about which she could hardly plead ignorance -- considering her involvement in his affairs, starting from day-one when she called the police after Sam Cohen put his fist to my face.

Victor received this bag, containing a topical solution. This is Sam Cohen's handwriting. The bag no longer hints at a Fairfield address. In broad daylight, Sam Cohen is shipping topical solutions, featuring his new Renwick Street address, with his new phone number.

While I was scooting down a new burrow, wondering about the multitude of irregularities, a new bag arrived for Victor, and this time, it had Sam Cohen’s own handwriting. Oh dear, what more proof did we need than this? The bottles were coming out of IHRB’s office. If they were medications, it would be a criminal offence (and we are soon to receive the lab results). What do those bottles contain? When asked, Sam Cohen said that the bottles do not contain Minoxidil. He alleged they contained Activance with his own secret herbal extracts added by him, personally. We shall find out. They are easy to test in a laboratory. We are just paving the way for the correct legal protocols. I think we are about to see some sparks fly.

The new bags even carry Sam Cohen’s distinctive signature. So how can he deny sending these out? In fact, in an email to Victor, he did not deny it. He admitted it. He merely denied the contents of the bottles. By saying that he was sending Activance with his own unverified secret extracts (while admitting that this was what he had been shipping for over one year), he is saying that he has been conning Victor (and perhaps all his clients) for over one year, charging $225 and $200 for bottles that did not contain what Victor had ordered. What a headache. Either way, it lands Sam Cohen in boiling hot water. Like I said, this is a perfect example of how good news is really very bad news.

NOTICE SENT TO IHRB CLIENTS

Below we see the relocation notices in which Sam Cohen says that he moved due to complaints about parking in the city. Note that he mentions me by name, yet again. Apparently all his woes are my fault.

By the way, notice that the Shampoo listed in the newsletter below is no longer called ‘Organic’ Shampoo. After I exposed his shampoo as being nothing more than detergent, he has dropped the misleading term ‘Organic’ from his sales pitch, although he is still charging way too much, considering it costs him approximately $1.25 per bottle, and you can buy a similar product at the supermarket at 82 cents. You can read more about Sam Cohen’s exorbitant prices here.

BREACHING CTTT ORDERS

The flyer above constitutes ‘direct mail advertising’, and as such breaches the Orders stipulated by the Health Care Complaints Commission which require IHRB to detail the terms of the Orders in all advertising. This flyer is clearly trying to sell therapeutic goods. It does not inform the reader (as it must) that Sam Cohen and IHRB are under Permanent Prohibition Orders. That is yet another breach — not even counting the misleading claims that are being made, such as the alleged 40 years of research. The average person could presume that IHRB is some ‘Institute’ whose employees are in white lab coats, dedicating 40 years of their life ‘researching’. Sam Cohen has never conducted any research, and his products do not exist. He sell nothing. He is a middle man who has invented nothing more than a grand delusion. If he disputes this, just ask him to show you the independent clinical trials. If anyone can show me these independent clinical trials (the real scientific ones conducted by an independent lab), then I will donate $3700 to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. The challenge is explained in an article which you can read by clicking here.

 

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