THE head of West Yorkshire's ambulance trust used nearly £250,000 of public money to help a failing property company, a court heard.
Trevor Molton, 50, who was paid £100,000 a year as the trust's chief executive, renovated rundown properties with money from the organisation.
He then rented them to Filipino nurses, the jury heard.
Molton, his wife, Angela, 43, the trust's finance director, John Miners, 54, and Paul Buckley, 35, an estate agent, face charges of conspiracy to defraud at Manchester Crown Court.
Molton, of Main Street, Pickering, North Yorkshire, and Miners, of West End, Nailsea, near Bristol, used their positions in charge of the trust to get access to houses and flats owned by councils, telling them it was for the NHS.
The pair planned to bring more than 1,000 nurses into the UK to help fight the shortage in the NHS. They would house them in renovated houses and blocks of flats, the court heard.
Euan Duff, prosecuting, told the court Molton and Miners set up Accommodation for Yorkshire (A4Y) in 2000, but hid it from the ambulance trust's board.
"They lined their own pockets financially at the expense of the trust," he added.
"The matter began when Trevor Molton and John Miners saw the opportunity to profit personally by way of the business opportunity which the requirement of housing for nurses presented."
"None of the directors was aware of it at all. The scheme proceeded with the board in total ignorance of what was going on."
Angela Molton became a board member of A4Y when her husband stood down to disguise his involvement, Mr Duff told the court.
Buckley, of Horsforth, Leeds, is accused of conspiring with Molton and Miners to obtain property for A4Y and profiting from the misuse of NHS money.
Molton spent many years in ambulance services.
He joined the former East Riding Ambulance Service in 1973 as a 17-year-old cadet.
He later became West Yorkshire's Chief Ambulance Officer and, in 1993, when it was transformed into an NHS trust, he was made chief executive.
The case continues.