Balloon Hoax Parents Plead Guilty
Parents of the boy thought to have been flown away by a homemade balloon pleaded guilty for the charges of felony and misdemeanor. They are to be sentenced on December 23.
Richard Heene may spent 90 days in jail for the felony charges for influencing a public servant while Mayumi Heene may spent 60 days for misdemeanor charges for falsely reporting to authorities. Both will be given probationary status. The plea was made as a deal after prosecutors threatened to bring deportation cases against the mother. Mayumi is a Japanese citizen. They are also expected to pay significant amounts of money to various government agencies for costs of the rescue attempt.
The Heenes gained international attention when they claimed that their son was “accidentally” flown away in a man-mad balloon. The media carried the story as US National Guard helicopters chased the balloon for nearly two hours. When the balloon was caught, Falcon Heene was not inside. Authorities then searched the countryside for him only to find out later that he was at the Heene’s attic all along.
Later, the mother admitted that the whole incident was a hoax designed to make the family more marketable for a future reality show. The family previously starred in the program Wife Swap. The hoax was planned two weeks before it was staged where the parents instructed their children to lie to the authorities and to the media.