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Joshua Van Auker charged with extorting Hines Ward

An extortion attempt against Hines Ward has resulted in the arrest of Joshua Van Auker, who is charged with two counts of extortion.

Karl Walter

Former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward is the center of an extortion charge leveled against a Brookline man, whose preliminary hearing was postponed until early December on Tuesday.

According to a WTAE Pittsburgh report, Joshua Van Auker contacted Ward's personal assistant, saying that he was in possession of evidence that alleged Ward paid women for sex. Ward's assistant, meanwhile, suggests that Van Auker thought his girlfriend had had an affair with Ward. When Van Auker found out, he threatened to bring the information public if he did not receive payment from Ward.

Van Auker and Ward's personal assistant met last Thursday, where Van Auker allegedly received an envelope allegedly filled $15,000 (which had been provided by local police) in exchange for the information that was meant to embarrass Ward, according to the report. Van Auker was arrested soon thereafter and was charged with two counts of extortion. Van Auker was arraigned last Friday.

The district attorney's office said Van Auker was seeking money to pay for his "silence."

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.