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Hines Ward Extortion Plot: Joshua Van Auker Arrested Over Alleged Attempt To Extort Ex-Steelers Star

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HINES WARD
Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, right, announces his retirement from the NFL at the Steeler's offices in Pittsburgh Tuesday, March 20, 2012. In rear from left listening are: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, and Steelers President and co-owner Art J. Rooney II. | AP

PITTSBURGH — Authorities say a man who tried to extort $15,000 from retired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has been arrested.

Allegheny County prosecutors say 26-year-old Joshua Van Auker was arrested Thursday after trying to extort the money through one of Ward's personal assistants. They say Van Auker threatened to release information alleging Ward had paid women for sex.

An affidavit says the assistant gave Van Auker money provided by law enforcement.

Van Auker was arrested by Allegheny County detectives. He's awaiting arraignment. It's unclear if he has an attorney. No telephone listing for him can be found.

Ward was MVP when the Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2006. He retired in March after 14 seasons with Pittsburgh.

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Man tried to extort Hines Ward

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