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

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. Pirates pitcher Morton turns in solid performance in win over Marlins
  2. Pirates notebook: Morton’s return to Pirates means Liz leaves
  3. ‘Voice of Pittsburgh’ was proud of Mon Valley roots
  4. With space to spare, Pittsburgh International draws corporate jet carrier
  5. Cops: Man shoots 11-year-old with BB gun in McKeesport; boy critical
  6. Accident at West Virginia’s Cheat Lake sends boaters to hospital
  7. Consistency keeps Cellone’s Bakery customers coming back
  8. Previewing the the 2015 WPIAL baseball championships
  9. Theft thwarted by employee at North Huntingdon Wal-Mart
  10. Westmoreland Veterans’ Monument unveiled, rededicated in Greensburg
  11. Kiski Area to play football at Davis Field this season