A duplicitous dad sent another man – who looked nothing like him - to take his DNA test so he could avoid paying child maintenance, a court heard.
The Child Support Agency had asked John Bullett to prove he was the father of his son, but instead of showing up for an interview, he sent a stooge instead.
Leeds Crown Court heard that the stand-in signed a declaration that he was Bullett and also had a picture taken.
The man, known only as Andrew, even had a facial tattoo, which 44-year-old Bullett doesn't.
When the test came back negative concerned mother, Danielle Roxburgh, was shown the picture of the tattooed man and told the CSA it wasn't the father of her child, who was two at the time.
Julia Harrow, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court: "She said she didn't know who the person in the photograph was and she was 100 per cent sure Mr Bullett was the child's father."
When interviewed, Bullett first said he had taken the test, and only later admitted it wasn't him, saying he didn't know who the man who took it was.
A second DNA test taken by Bullett, of Featherstone, West Yorkshire, while accompanied by two CSA officials, finally confirmed he was the father of Miss Roxburgh's child.
Miss Harrow said: "He said he [Andrew] had also had a sexual relationship with Miss Roxburgh and that man had taken the test and wanted to see if he was the father."
Recorder S Hirst said: "I take the view that Mr Bullett was very fortunate not be charged with perverting the course of justice.
"You behaved in a despicable and cowardly fashion. This was plainly a planned deliberate matter in which Mr Bullett recruited another man to pull the wool over the doctor's eyes, the department and of course to avoid paying some money to this lady to help with the upbringing of this child."
The CSA were approached by Miss Roxburgh in January 2012 to see if she could get child maintenance for her son.
The court heard she had been in a relationship with Bullet for around a year, splitting in September 2009, while she was pregnant. At that point he denied paternity.
When the CSA tracked him down he again denied being the father and initially denied knowing Miss Roxburgh, later saying he didn't know her name and he had only met her a few times in a club.
Even when interviewed in late 2012 he said Miss Roxburgh was 'sleeping with three other men at the time and it was a one in three chance' it was his.
Speaking at an earlier hearing at Wakefield Magistrates Court, West Yorkshire, Chairman of the bench Angela Beardshall said: "There was the planning, the financial loss and distress caused to Danielle Roxburgh.
"But the biggest factor to us is that the child in question would have grown up believing that someone else was his father."
Bullett was sentenced to a six-month curfew and ordered to pay costs. The man who took Bullett's place has also been asked to attend an interview.