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. Roundup: Wealth gap largest on record, Pew study shows; McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries; more
  2. Salvation Army edges closer to campaign goals
  3. WM wrestling rebuilding after losses to graduation
  4. West Mifflin man charged with risking catastrophe
  5. West Mifflin soccer fields nearly done, but play will be delayed
  6. Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
  7. Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
  8. Pederson’s 2nd tenure as the athletic director at Pitt comes to abrupt end
  9. Valley New Dispatch spotlight athletes: Highlands’ Ashlyn Jonczak, Cheswick Christian Academy’s Ben Pollock
  10. Philly DA says no affidavits claimed by AG Kane in bribery case existed
  11. Connellsville Area High School Chamber Ensemble awaiting word on sing-off
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.