The first episode of the new Unsolved Mysteries reboot on Netflix focuses on the mysterious death of Rey Rivera; Rivera’s friendship and business relationship with a man named Frank Porter Stansberry is highlighted in the episode. (Be forewarned that this article will contain spoilers for episode one).
The show alleges that Stansberry, a friend of Rivera’s from childhood who gave him a job in Baltimore, refused to speak with police about Rivera’s death. Rivera had rushed out of his home after receiving a call traced back to the switchboard at Stansberry’s firm. He was missing for days. Then, his body was later found under a hole in a rooftop positioned near the iconic Belvedere Hotel. Authorities thought it was suicide, but the family does not agree, and the medical examiner ruled the death undetermined. The show painstakingly explains how the dimensions are off, making it unlikely, in the minds of some, that Rivera jumped from the hotel’s rooftop. In addition, his cell phone and glasses weren’t damaged, and some of the trauma to his body seemed inconsistent with the fall theory, according to the show.
All of this is making some viewers wonder: Where is Frank Porter Stansberry today? What is Rey Rivera’s former friend doing now? (Stansberry also refused to talk to the Unsolved Mysteries creators.)
Here’s what you need to know:
Stansberry Founded a Company Called Stansberry Research
According to his LinkedIn page, Porter Stansberry is the founder of Stansberry Research in Baltimore, Maryland. “Porter Stansberry founded Stansberry Research in 1999 with the firm’s flagship newsletter, Stansberry’s Investment Advisory. He is also the host of Stansberry Radio, a weekly broadcast that has quickly become one of the most popular online financial radio shows,” it reads.
“Prior to launching S&A, Porter was the first American editor of the Fleet Street Letter, the world’s oldest English-language financial newsletter. Today, Porter is well-known for doing some of the most important – and often controversial – work in the financial advisory business. Since he launched Stansberry’s Investment Advisory, his string of accurate forecasts has made his advisory one of the most widely read in the world, and has helped his readers both avoid catastrophe and make incredible gains.”
The LinkedIn page continues, “For example, his dead-on prediction of the mortgage meltdown got the attention of Barron’s, who said Porter’s work was ‘remarkably prescient… Nothing, as far as we can see, has happened to contradict his dire prophecy… ‘ At Stansberry Research, Porter oversees over a dozen of the best editors and analysts in the business, who do an exhaustive amount of real-world, independent research. Together, his group has visited hundreds of publicly traded companies to bring Stansberry Research.”
The page lists that as his current job and says he attended the University of Florida.
Stansberry is still listed on the company’s website. His page says of him:
Porter Stansberry founded Stansberry Research in 1999 with the firm’s flagship publication, Stansberry’s Investment Advisory. He is also the host of Stansberry Investor Hour, a weekly broadcast that has quickly become one of the most popular online financial radio shows.
Prior to launching Stansberry Research, Porter was the first American editor of the Fleet Street Letter, the world’s oldest English-language financial newsletter.
Today, Porter is well-known for doing some of the most important – and often controversial – work in the financial advisory business. Since he launched Stansberry’s Investment Advisory, his string of accurate forecasts has made his advisory one of the most widely read in the world, and has helped his readers both avoid catastrophe and make incredible gains.
The YouTube page describes Stansberry Research as “a subscription-based publisher of financial information and software, serving millions of investors around the world. Our premium research services cover a wide range of investment strategies including dividend investing, fixed income, value investing, energy and precious-metals investments, alternative assets, and conservative, income-generating options trading strategies.”
The Netflix show brings up an old court case against Porter Stansberry. You can see government documents on that case here. The SEC alleged: “Defendants engaged in an ongoing scheme to defraud public investors by disseminating false information in several Internet newsletters published by Agora or its wholly owned subsidiaries such as Pirate. Through various publications, defendants claimed to have inside information about certain public companies. Defendants suggested that its readers could cash in on the inside information and make quick profits. The defendants offered to sell the inside information to newsletter subscribers for a fee of $1,000.”
In 2007, the Baltimore Sun reported that the firm was “ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution and civil penalties for disseminating false stock information and defrauding public investors through a financial newsletter.”
“Stansberry’s conduct undoubtedly involved deliberate fraud, making statements [about a stock] that he knew to be false; Pirate acted in reckless disregard for regulations when it published Stansberry’s unbelievable claims without a shred of confirmation,” the judge wrote in the ruling, according to The Sun, which quoted a lawyer for Stansberry as saying he maintained he did nothing wrong. “To this day, they continue to stand by their reporting on the company and their view of the stock at the time,” the lawyer told The Sun.
Stansberry’s Spokesperson Denies the Firm Had a Gag Order Over Rivera’s Death
The Baltimore Sun reported after the Netflix show streamed that Stansberry’s company “is the largest operating subsidiary of Baltimore-based Agora Publishing, the world’s largest investment newsletter company through its holdings.”
David Churbuck, a publicist at Sitrick & Co., a crisis management firm hired by Agora, told the Sun that the company didn’t bar employees from speaking about Rivera’s case. “There was no gag order or direction given to employees to not speak to the press, law enforcement or any other party,” Churbuck told The Sun. “Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.”
According to the Baltimore Sun, Stansberry offered a $1,000 reward for information about Rivera when he first disappeared, and it was increased to $5,000.
“He’s a happy guy,” Stansberry told The Sun at the time. “He and his wife had just booked a trip to go to New Mexico in a few weeks. This is not a man that wanted to leave. I’ve got to find my friend. I can’t imagine my life without him. He’s my best friend.”
Stansberry Urged Americans to Buy Gold & Open Foreign Bank Accounts in a 2011 Interview
In 2011, Yahoo Finance published a video interview with Porter Stansberry that was headlined, “Porter Stansberry’s Tips to Protect Yourself From a Worthless Dollar.” In that interview, which you can watch here, he was described as the “founder and managing director of Stansberry and Associates.”
The anchor started the segment by saying that President Barack Obama had unveiled a budget with “annual deficits of a trillion dollars or more.” The anchor then introduced Porter Stansberry by saying that Stansberry “says this is the beginning of the end of America.” He asked Stansberry, “How you can protect yourself if you are concerned about the fate of America and where the dollar is heading?”
Stansberry responded that his first recommendation was that Americans should open a foreign bank account.
“There are already laws on the books that will go into effect in 2013 that will make it much more difficult for Americans to open overseas bank accounts… so my advice is to get some money out of the country and to get it into a foreign currency and to get it into a foreign bank as quickly as you can because banks will be pulling away from American customers and the government’s going to make it difficult for you to move money overseas as well,” Stansberry said.
He added: “The two simplest things I actually recommend… just go to to your local coin dealer and buy gold bullion …I recommend self storage. No one’s going to be going through all your old books and storage unit looking for gold bullion.”
In the interview, he also recommended that people buy foreign real estate because it’s not required to be reported to the IRS and suggested people invest in land. “Look, food prices could actually go to the moon if the dollar collapses like I think it’s going to,” Stansberry said in the interview. He also suggested that people create trusts to protect their wealth and invest in ZKB gold in Switzerland to get gold offshore.