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There still are a number of lingering questions about the bizarre death of Baltimore man Rey Rivera, as shown in the revival of "Unsolved Mysteries," but there are also a number of questions about Rivera's employer and its enigmatic founder Frank Porter Stansberry.
Rivera was found dead at Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore in 2006 about a week after he disappeared. He had sustained grievous injuries including fractured ribs and punctured lungs from an apparent fall, and his body was decomposed. His undamaged cell phone was found on the roof of the building.
The show explains Stansberry and Rivera were longtime friends going back to their time together in high school.
“He’s a happy guy,” Stansberry told The Baltimore Sun after Rivera disappeared in 2006, also reportedly offering up reward money to find him. “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.”
After Rivera's death, his wife discovered a bizarre rambling note in his office that made reference to Freemasons, genetic engineering, bluetooth, and airbags — and a number of references to his friend and employer Stansberry, according previous reporting from WBALTV.
Rivera was employed by Stansberry as a financial writer for Baltimore-based research firm Stansberry & Associates Investment Research — now known as Stansberry Research. Stansberry — who appears to use the professional name of Porter Stansberry — created the firm in 1999, according to his bio page on the firm website.
Rivera, an aspiring filmmaker, moved to Baltimore with his wife Alison to accept a job at Stansberry's firm. The night Rivera ran off never to be seen again came right after he received a call from the Stansberry & Associates switchboard, "Unsolved Mysteries" noted.
The company has a checkered financial history. In 2002, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued the firm and accused it of defrauding investors with false advice, according to the SEC complaint. The firm was found guilty of securities fraud in 2007 (a year after Rivera's death) and was ordered to pay a $1.5 million fine, according to a previous report from the Baltimore Sun.
What Happened To Porter Stansberry?
Stansberry still works at the firm he founded, producing financial analysis newsletters and videos through the firm's active YouTube channel — where Stansberry occasionally appears.
Much of Stansberry's published work appears to be focused on financial and economic analysis — though it also verges on the conspiratorial.
In 2010, his firm published a video entitled "The End of America" on YouTube, in which Stansberry predicted a "major, major collapse" in the American monetary system within the next 12 months and predicted martial law being enacted by the military.
Stansberry still writes dispatches for his firm, posting a recent article in April on the website contending that COVID-19 was no more deadly than the flu and accusing the government of tyranny.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that COVID-19 appears to be "more deadly than seasonal influenza."
Stansberry did not participate in the episode. "Unsolved Mysteries" contends that Stansberry put his employees under a gag order that barred them from talking about the case.
The alleged gag order came after investigators linked a call to Rivera's cell to the firm on the night of his death.
“There was no gag order or direction given to employees to not speak to the press, law enforcement or any other party,” a crisis management publicist for Stansberry's parent company Agora Publishing told The Baltimore Sun last week. “Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.”
WBALTV reported in 2007 that a lawyer for Agora told them the company had asked its employees not to speak with the outlet about Rivera. Stansberry himself has not apparently spoken publicly about the case in the years following Rivera's death.
A medical examiner previously ruled Rivera's cause of death as "undetermined." Series producers reportedly said they have received tips relating to Rivera's case following the premiere of the show.
"Unsolved Mysteries" is available to stream on Netflix.
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