TribLIVE

| News

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

Man gets probation for trying to extort money from Hines Ward

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. McCutchen, Pirates cruise past Twins
  2. Beaver County widow won’t lose home over $6.30 late fee
  3. Steelers unfazed by Brady suspension saga
  4. Police: Scottdale man had child porn on computer
  5. Gibsonia’s Saad shows off Stanley Cup at 911th Airlift Wing
  6. Judge adds 2 years to sentence of Baldwin Borough man acquitted of murder
  7. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  8. Plum High School teacher held for court on charges of intimidation
  9. Housing Authority to treat Brookline senior complex for bedbugs
  10. Driver accused of crashing head-on into Ligonier officer’s SUV waives right to preliminary hearing
  11. Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy