How serial conwoman Natalie Rivers stole thousands from those she befriended
PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:00 13 December 2018
A serial conwoman’s trail of deceit can today be revealed after she was jailed for stealing a man’s life savings and falsely accusing him of rape.
Natalie Rivers, from West End in Old Costessey, has stolen thousands of pounds from people she befriended over the past few years - including the elderly.
The 35-year-old’s previous convictions include impersonating a police officer and falsely claiming a man was under investigation for sexual assault.
She has also been convicted of stealing cash from a 77-year-old pensioner and taking a handbag belonging to a charity worker who was helping her.
But it was on Wednesday that Norwich Crown Court heard about what is arguably her most heinous crime yet.
In December last year she stole the life savings of a man she met on an online dating site - and then falsely accused him of rape.
Prosecutor John Morgans said Rivers pretended to have genuine feelings for the 58-year-old victim, but then took his £3,040 life savings.
She told police he was her sugar daddy before making up the false rape allegation.
Rivers, who appeared on a video link from Peterborough jail, admitted theft and was jailed 20 months.
A history of deceit
The court heard how Rivers, who is also known as Natalie Collins, had in the past stolen from numerous other victims.
Mr Morgans said she had previous convictions for theft from properties, including in 2013 when she stole from another victim she had befriended on the internet.
She stole bank cards and cheques, along with other items and had used the stolen card to try to buy a Husky puppy.
The court heard how there was another case of her stealing from someone she befriended in October 2013.
Judge Bacon told her: “Your modus operandi is the theft from people that you have befriended and you steal money and goods while in their property.”
Rivers’ previous convictions include stealing cash from a 77-year-old pensioner she befriended.
In October 2016 Rivers was convicted of impersonating a police officer when she went to the employer of a man pretending he was under investigation for a sex assault.
Judge Maureen Bacon said: “You had made a wholly malicious claim to an employer that a man with whom you had some contact with was in custody for a scandalous offence.
“You made those allegations because you did not like him. That shows the extreme to which you will go.”
She said Rivers was given a suspended 24-week jail term but breached that when she was convicted of theft from a house in which cheques were stolen in April this year.
Rivers is currently serving the 24-week sentence and was due for release on New Year’s Eve but has now been jailed a further 20 months for her latest theft.
Prosecutor Mr Morgans said: “There is quite a pattern of offending when it comes to her crimes.”
False rape accusation
Mr Morgans said Rivers met her latest victim on the Plenty of Fish dating website.
The court heard yesterday how the pair met up and Rivers stayed the night. She stayed at the victim’s house the following day while he went to an appointment.
But when he returned she had gone, along with his life savings.
Mr Morgans said: “He tried to contact her but she had already blocked him which indicated what a sham her professions of love were.”
Rivers was arrested and at first she claimed the victim was her sugar daddy, paying her £150-an-hour to be his sugar baby.
But when that story fell apart she came up with the false rape allegation.
In an impact statement the victim said he felt low and depressed and physically sick to be falsely accused of rape.
Sentencing Rivers, Judge Bacon said: “You have operated in this way in the past. You have previous convictions for the exact same sort of offence.”
She said Rivers made up the rape allegation against the victim and said: “Such a malicious complaint you made undermines all those making genuine allegations.”
David Stewart, for Rivers, said she deserved credit for her plea.
Who is Natalie Rivers?
An online search of Natalie Rivers reveals multiple Facebook accounts, each bearing her photograph, but with varying details about her background.
In one account, she claims to be a waitress at Delia’s Catering, while in another she says she is a former Army corporal currently working for the Royal British Legion.
Other Facebook accounts bearing her photograph claim she lives in Norwich and London, with one claiming she is from Rockingham in Western Australia.
Meanwhile, a search of her other alias, Natalie Collins, reveals more about her criminal past.
In April 2014 Norfolk police urged the public to help officers trace Collins who was wanted on recall to prison for breaching the terms of her licence.
Police at the time said she had been convicted for fraud offences.
In 2002, she also appeared in the Norwich Evening News claiming she was robbed of her mobile phone.
• Have you been the victim of fraud? Email firstname.lastname@example.org