By Pete Freedman
By Dallas Observer
By Dallas Observer
By Brantley Hargrove
By City of Ate
By Dallas Observer Staff
By Seth Cohn
By Pete Freedman
Cohen founded his own private investigation firm, Investigative Resources of Texas, in 1994 after assisting collection agencies in their pursuit of big debts and in worldwide efforts to locate military deserters. He has abundant experience in insurance fraud and is a highly paid expert witness in different kinds of trials, but he considers one field a specialty: matrimonial investigation. If you're cheating on your spouse, he or she can hire Cohen to track your lying ass around the city, state, country and world to document evidence of adultery for divorce cases.
"Texas is going into its fifth year leading the nation in divorce rates," he says. "Dallas-Fort Worth is right up there. North Richland Hills, Addison, the Mid-Cities--they're all hotbeds for adultery. Highland Park is big, too. I've had some very rich, very eccentric clients from there.
"Generally speaking," he continues, "we have a stronger economy than the rest of the country. We have loose income brackets, discretionary income, people working for large commissions. All those create incentives to stray."
Marriages that turn stale often share some common traits: Both partners are working professionals with a combined income of $70-$120,000, children and a mortgage. And incidentally, contrary to the legions of spurned women pouring out their tales on daytime talk shows, Cohen says that in his experience, wives cheat on their husbands as often as vice versa. People choose to continue a troubled marriage either because they don't want to admit it's hopeless--and seek solace in other arms--or they simply crave both the stability of the institution and some variety on the side. They rarely travel very far for that extra bit: He estimates that in 80 percent of the investigations he handles, the cheater is having an affair with a co-worker. Perhaps strangest of all, that co-worker usually bears a strong physical resemblance to the spouse being cuckolded.
"If you suspect your spouse is cheating, then you're usually right," Cohen notes. "We're the only P.I. firm in Dallas I know of that does hard advertising. I have ads in topless clubs, health clubs, upscale restaurants. Imagine you're a guy who's worried about his wife. You have a couple drinks at a club, you walk into the rest room, and above the urinal there's an ad with a picture of a woman getting into a car and the line, ëThis is your wife...but whose car is she getting into?' It plants a seed."
Once that seed is planted, and Cohen is hired, he or an assistant spends anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week for three weeks--sometimes totaling 12 to 15 separate periods of surveillance--to document what the courts call "a pattern of habit." Adulterers meet at restaurants or bars far outside their typical social circle, or are viewed entering and leaving each other's homes during odd hours. Cohen is always nearby--waiting in a car, or just a few tables away--to catch on digital video images of lovers holding hands, kissing, touching one another on the bottom. Sometimes husbands tryst with other men, wives with other women, but no matter the situation, Cohen halts his efforts after the couple departs a public space; while adultery itself is not illegal in Texas, spying on and taping someone in a private residence definitely is.
Paranoia runs in all directions: Cohen confirms he's been tapped for countersurveillance, in which spouses believe their husband or wife is having them followed and want him to prove it. All snickering aside, "I believe cheating on a spouse is morally and ethically wrong," he says. "It's very destructive. It wreaks hell psychologically on men and women. There are times when I've charged clients for counseling, because they spend hours and hours going over their stories, wondering what they did wrong."
Cohen's advice? "If you don't want to be married, get out. Otherwise, keep it in your pants. It saves everyone a lot of trouble."
Investigative Resources of Texas can be reached at 877-285-9519.