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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. ‘Time for bold change,’ Wolf says in outlining $30B state budget
  2. Starkey: Penguins not mortgaging future
  3. Spirit Airlines to add daily flights from Latrobe to Chicago O’Hare
  4. Murphy: May not be able to secure cyberspace, but must minimize impact
  5. No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
  6. State’s highest court to take up legality of Wolf moratorium on death penalty
  7. Lawrenceville man charged with rape, child pornography and 27 other sexual offenses
  8. Penguins GM Rutherford not counting on Dupuis’ return
  9. Wilkinsburg father ordered to have no contact with daughter or her grandmother
  10. Company proposes building 2 gas-fired power plants in West Virginia
  11. Trial of man accused of shooting cyclist in Allentown begins