A former employee who reported to Sam Cohen when they worked at a hair restoration company in Clarance Street Sydney, contacted me and had this to say about Sam Cohen and his business practice, including Sam’s alleged gambling account at the TAB, which no doubt would be of great interest to the Australian Taxation Office, not to mention his former bosses whose company collapsed. It also begs the question if Sam’s current business partner and the ATO have any knowledge about the real cash-flow of IHRB.
It would not be too hard to audit his books, considering that the Police raided Sam’s IHRB offices in Pitt Street in late 2010. The computer files (which are now held in evidence) contain a lot of information about clients. All that one has to do is to match the client photo files with their payment history by interviewing each client, and work out if all that income was declared and if tax was paid. Also, a review of any current TAB account might offer clues about the kind of cash that might still be injected.
Here is what Sam’s former employee had to say on the 23rd of January 2011:
I was watching TV and saw the Today Tonight story about Sam Cohen and his hair loss treatment. I just could not believe that he was still operating. I have no idea how he can still be in business.
I worked for Sam when I was much younger at a hair growth company that is no longer in operation, long before he started IHRB, and in those days, I needed the money, so I did not dare speak up about his practices. I can’t believe that he has been getting away with his unethical conduct for so long.
Sam used to sexually harass me and the other girls in the office. It was full-on sexual harassment. The sad thing was that some girls fell for it because he always flashed his money about. His wallet was always filled with $50 notes. And he loved to party and go to discos.
He had a lot of problems with clients, but he would just get aggressive and tell them to get out, and never refund their money, and just shut the door. He would literally lock the doors so that clients could not come in and complain.
At that time, he did not own the company, but he used to sign up new clients, and if they paid cash, he would keep the money for himself. He would write up their client cards and lock those bogus cards in his brief case so that the owner or head office never knew about the new client or that new cash. In this way, Sam was able to take the cash, usually $2000 as a starting deposit, and ask the girls in the office to go deposit the cash directly into his TAB betting account. Sam used to bet on the horses etc every single day, and sometimes all afternoon. And when the Sydney races were done, he would get on the phone and bet money interstate.
Every day, thousands of dollars went into his betting account, when they should have been logged and sent to head office. To my way of thinking, this was pure theft. Sometimes, the girls would take as much as $8000 in one day to the TAB. Other times, he went himself, so it was literally thousands and thousands of dollars squandered on gambling, and it seemed that no one at head office ever knew, and the girls were too scared to ever report it. But now I wonder if someone at head office did know and was in on the act, because I can’t understand how and why he did it so freely, and I wonder if this was normal for a few who just knew how to milk the company of its cash.
Sam worked at Clarence Street in Sydney and he had several titles. One of which was National Sales Manager. So he trained other locations. He would go to Chatswood and Parramatta offices and do the same thing, sign up new clients, make private client cards for them, and pocket the money. No wonder the old company went broke. He had trained those other office managers, but I do not know how he was able to get away with it at those other offices. I can only wonder if the other managers were in on it too.
At the time, the director or owner that I knew of was Mr Gordon Brown whose office was in Kings Cross I think. I do not know if Mr Brown knew about Sam’s ways, but now nothing would surprise me.
At times, Sam would pay the girls a hundred dollars bonus/tip for going to the TAB for him. It was all such a scam. We had prominent celebrities and well-known singers and TV personalities as clients, and I would say that most of them had major complaints but they never pursued it for fear of bad publicity or personal embarrassment.
In my estimation, 40% of clients were under what I called ‘dummy cards’, which meant that head office never knew about those clients, and all the cash was deposited into Sam’s TAB account.
I was too young to really know, but I did suspect that it was all strange in terms of not paying tax on all that money, and defrauding the owners.
Sam only ever hired pretty thin girls. Never overweight ones. He had a wife, but I think that for a long time, he did not live with her. I think he lived with another woman. But it was confusing because in the early days, his wife used to come in and bring his lunch, which was usually a curry. I think at the time his wife worked as a cleaner in the National Australia Bank building. Many girls found his sexual harassment too much and left. Some stayed and suffered it because back then, it was not the done thing to speak up about it. Yet, some of the girls did encourage him, and went to discos with him. I have no idea why, but I think he used to boast about his wealth.
His wife used to call him Jamal or Chamal or Shamol or even Shalom (because Sam says that he is Jewish), and I think that one of those must have been his Indian name, so I am not sure how many names he uses.
Sam hired many young men as consultants/salesmen to sell the treatment, but they never lasted because it was always only on commission and they found it difficult to sell something they did not believe in. His treatment never worked. Back then I do not recall him using prescription medications so it was all just lies about lights, shampoos etc which never worked. But Sam himself was the best salesman in the world. He would tell people anything to make a sale. And what is really amazing is that he had a gift of making people feel good and hopeful during the sales process. Women would come in with certain types of alopecia, which I guess was stress related, but Sam would make out that he can help them, and the women and men were so desperate that they would pay anything and do anything he told them. He was such an excellent salesman, but it was all a scam and kept crashing when people finally realised that it did not work, but he was rude and never tolerated anyone asking for a refund.
We girls used to look at each other and wonder how on earth he can trick people like this, but we never said anything. We were too young to have any power and we were scared to lose our job and knew that Sam had a bad temper and we would never think to cross him.
There is so much about him that is undesirable, and it is only now, years after leaving that job that I am able to have the courage to even speak about it. He used to tell us strange stories about his past, about how powerful and rich he was but that was odd because we went to his home for a Christmas party one day and his home was shabby and run down and basic. I recall him telling us that back in India he was a tobacco taster. I never knew what that meant. Maybe he used to pick the tobacco as a picker on a farm. I have no idea because now I can’t believe anything he says.
Seeing him on TV was amazing. Not because he was operating a scam. That did not surprise me. But I was surprised that someone like him, who has lied to so many people, is still in business. That just leaves me speechless. I can’t believe he is still in business, even though I know now that he has is own company.
I have a lot of memories, but I guess when the time is right, I will speak up about them because I think the Authorities need to know about him in order to protect the innocent people who used to go to Sam in desperation. They were so gullible because they just were in fear of losing their hair and going bald. He had so many dissatisfied clients, but they just could not speak up because they were embarrassed about their condition, that they did not want the world or their friends or colleagues to know that they were seeking treatment. It was a sort of taboo.
I hope others come forward and share their story as well. He needs to go down big time. He is a fake and a thief and as frustrating as it is for you, hang in there. Take care and feel free to call me anytime.
P.S. IHRB is the name of the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty run by Sam Cohen of 105 Pitt Street Sydney. It is also written as Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty or Institute of Hair Re-growth & Beauty.
The Health Care Complaints Commission issued this statement on its website  on the 23rd of February 2011.
You can learn more here .