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. Pa. trooper ambush suspect Frein in court after long manhunt
  2. 5 Cal U football players arrested for assault; Saturday’s game canceled
  3. Pirates likely to seek pitcher, catcher when free agency starts
  4. Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
  5. Emaciated Lab-collie mix found in garbage bag in New Stanton
  6. Steelers notebook: Fully healthy, rookie WR Bryant progressing fast
  7. Fleury, Penguins too much for Kings
  8. Rossi: The best Penguins defense is ... a potent offense
  9. ‘Big play’ moniker fits veteran Steelers cornerback Gay
  10. Hackers’ new Dyre malware infects W.Pa. computers, vexes FBI cyber agents
  11. Day 7 of Ferrante trial expected to include testimony from victim’s colleague
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.