Balloon Boy Hoax: Richard Heene Reports for Jail Sentence

By Kamika Dunlap on January 11, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Richard Heene, father who staged the balloon boy hoax has turned himself in to begin his jail sentence.

According to the Associated Press, Heene will begin his 90-day jail sentence. He also is on the hook for four years probation. The judge ordered that Richard Heene could not profit directly from his crime.

As previously discussed, Heene pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant after he and his wife Mayumi reported their 6-year-old son Falcon Heene floated away on October 15 aboard a homemade helium balloon.

But in a recent  interview Richard Heene has maintained there was no balloon hoax, even though he pleaded guilty and agreed to be sentenced to 90 days in jail.

"We had searched the house, high and low," Heene said, choking back tears during a taped interview for "Larry King Live" that aired on CNN. "I knew he was in the craft. ... In my mind there was no other place."

The incident was captured on national television as the balloon traveled nearly 50 miles at an altitude of around 8,000 feet.

Court records indicate the Heenes were in financial trouble and working with a production company to create a reality television show based on their lives.

In his recent interview with Larry King however, Heene said he just wants to clear his family name.

"My motivation is to simply clear up my name, then do my time and get back to my family," Heene said. "That's all I'm after."

Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to one count of false reporting to authorities to avoid being deported to Japan. She faces a 20-day jail term.

In addition to jail time the Heenes also must pay legal restitution for several man hours of invovled in the rescue effort. The Colorado National Guard launched two helicopters to track the balloon and possibly rescue the boy. Prosecutors estimate the Heenes owe $48,000, though Richard Heene's attorney could provide a different estimate by a Jan. 25 deadline.

Lastly, Richard Heene faces an $11,000 civil penalty from the Federal Aviation Administration. The balloon briefly shut down a runway at Denver International Airport.


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