A father-of-three from Cullingworth who allowed fraudsters to use his company paperwork and bank account to steal money from a health care trust has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Three years ago businessman Rupinder Singh Athwal succumbed to temptation when his flooring and carpet firm was experiencing financial difficulties, Bradford Crown Court heard on Friday .

Prosecutor Nick Dry said six bogus invoices, including one from Athwal's firm, were submitted to the Southwark Primary Care Trust in early 2005.

Athwal's invoice was for £41,733.28 and claimed to be for services provided at Bermondsey Health.

The court heard that in total four of the bogus invoices were paid out by the PCT probably with the help of a corrupt employee.

The money for Athwal's bogus invoice was paid into his bank account at the HSBC, in Bradford, and on the same day he withdrew most of the money.

But his barrister, Yunus Valli, told Judge Shaun Spencer QC that Athwal handed over £38,000 to one of the fraudsters and only kept the remainder for himself.

Athwal, 29, had no previous convictions and Judge Spencer read a series of testimonials submitted on his behalf.

Mr Valli submitted that his client's offending was wholly out of character and he had been living a life of shame and humiliation over the last three years.

"Foolishly and naively Mr Athwal succumbed to the temptation of some short-term gain," said Mr Valli.

"On any view he was not the organiser or principal defendant in this offence. He was a facilitator allowing his bank account and company invoice to be used." Athwal pleaded guilty last October to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the PCT and on Friday Judge Spencer sentenced him to nine months in jail, suspended for two years.

Athwal, of Wild Heather Close, will also have to do 180 hours' unpaid work for the community and pay prosecution costs up to £1,500.

Judge Spencer also made a confiscation order in the sum of £41,733.28 against Athwal.

If he does not pay the money within six months he could face up to a year in jail.

Co-defendant David Heaton, 44, of White Castle Court, Queensbury, had a confiscation order in the sum of £80,623.18 made against him for his part in money-laundering scams involving the Southwark PCT and the Abbey Bank.

The former soldier is serving a 40-month prison sentence, but could face another 18 months behind bars if he does not pay the money in six months.