TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Man gets probation for trying to extort money from Hines Ward

Daily Photo Galleries

Friday, April 26, 2013, 2:03 p.m.
 

A Brookline man will spend two years on probation after pleading guilty to trying to extort $15,000 from former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward.

Pittsburgh police in October charged Joshua Van Auker, 26, with three counts of extortion for attempting to blackmail Ward with claims that he paid women for sex.

On Thursday, Van Auker pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of theft by threatening to expose a secret. Judge Philip A. Ignelzi sentenced him on Tuesday.

Neither Van Auker nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

Authorities became involved after Van Auker sent a text message to Ward's assistant and threatened to release unspecified damaging information about a woman Van Auker dated who was allegedly previously involved with Ward. Police arrested Van Auker during a sting in Sewickley, where Ward's assistant handed Van Auker an envelope containing $15,000 provided by law enforcement. After Van Auker turned over an envelope containing what he claimed were the materials against Ward, detectives arrested Van Auker.

Ward, 37, became an analyst for NBC after retiring from the Steelers in 2012. Ward's attorney could not be reached for comment.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Unlike years past, strength of 2014 Steelers could be offense
  2. Wedding aboard Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper ends in arrests
  3. Steelers Lookahead: Previewing Sunday’s game vs. Cleveland
  4. Campus visit sells 4-star Ohio recruit Hall on Panthers
  5. Steelers notebook: Polamalu made 1st-time captain; Roethlisberger named for offense
  6. Dominion, Duke to build $5B natural gas pipeline from WV to NC
  7. Love locks tokens fall prey to renovations on Pittsburgh bridges
  8. Ohio offensive lineman verbally commits to Pitt
  9. Nearing 25 years together, WPXI anchors Johnson, Finnegan defy odds
  10. Western Pa. districts aim to win back students from cyber charters
  11. Housing market remains ‘disaster’ in Westmoreland County
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.