From Good Housekeeping
Netflix’s reboot of Unsolved Mysteries reimagines the classic ’90s docuseries for a new audience, and has drawn plenty of buzz since its first six episodes debuted on July 1. As fans of the original will know, each episode tracks a different unresolved case, ranging from potential crimes (like unexplained deaths and disappearances) to apparent UFO sightings and other mysterious situations.
The first episode of the new season, “Mystery on the Rooftop,” is one of the most talked-about installments so far, delving into the strange and tragic 2006 death of Ray Rivera, whose body was found at a Baltimore hotel after he had been missing for over a week. Although police eventually concluded that his death was a suicide, the episode explores a number of irregularities and suspicious facts that call this into question – for instance, Rivera supposedly jumped to his death, but his cellphone and glasses sustained no damage, and there was no clear way he could have landed where he was found. Following an autopsy that showed injuries that were inconsistent with the kind of blunt force trauma that would be expected from a fall, Rivera’s cause of death was listed as inconclusive.
Another intriguing elements of this saga is Stansberry & Associates, the financial firm where Rivera was employed by his longtime friend, Frank Porter Stansberry. As chronicled in the episode, Rivera’s phone shows that the final call he received came from the Stansberry & Associates switchboard – the identity of the caller isn’t known – and he apparently rushed out of his house after receiving this call. At the time of Rivera’s death, Stansberry had been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission and convicted of security fraud.
Per Unsolved Mysteries, Stansberry & Associates employees were put under a gag order that blocked them from discussing Rivera’s disappearance, although a company spokesperson denied this in a recent statement to The Baltimore Sun. Stansberry reportedly offered a $1,000 reward for information on Rivera’s whereabouts when he first went missing. “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.” However, Stansberry apparently refused to speak to police about Rivera’s death, and declined to take part in the production of Unsolved Mysteries.
Since Stansberry is presented as a mysterious figure throughout the episode, viewers are wondering what he’s doing today. Well, he still works at the company, which has now been renamed Stansberry Research, and according to his LinkedIn page, he’s also the host of Stansberry Radio, “a weekly broadcast that has quickly become one of the most popular online financial radio shows.”
Stansberry’s LinkedIn page also describes him as an influential and divisive figure in the finance industry. “Today, [Frank] Porter is well-known for doing some of the most important – and often controversial – work in the financial advisory business,” reads the “About” section. “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.”
If you’re intrigued by that vague reference to controversy, there’s at least one widely known example. Back in 2010, Stansberry posted a YouTube video entitled “The End of America,” in which – as the title suggests – he offered a gloomy prediction for the future of the United States, and specifically its financial systems. Even before the video went viral, Stansberry clearly knew the waters he was wading into, beginning with an all-caps warning as follows: “The following presentation is controversial and may be offensive to some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.” The video ends, perhaps unsurprisingly, with an invitation to sign up for a Stansberry Research subscription in order to better protect yourself from the imminent crash.
That video aside, Stansberry doesn’t seem interested in drawing much attention to himself, and keeps his private life out of the spotlight. It remains to be seen whether the renewed attention on him will inspire him to break his silence on Rivera’s death.
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