balloon boy parents plead guilty to hoax charges

This week in Fort Collins, Colorado, Richard and Mayumi Heene -- aka Balloon Boy's Parents -- pled guilty to charges that the whole runaway balloon incident was fabricated to generate publicity for a possible reality TV show: Colorado parents plead guilty in balloon boy saga.

Richard Heene appeared before a Larimer County District Court judge first, pleading guilty to a felony count of falsely influencing the sheriff who led the rescue effort during the 50-mile balloon chase that captivated a global television audience.

Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of knowingly filing a false report with emergency services. Prosecutors said she had a lower level of culpability and cooperated with authorities, telling investigators the balloon launch was a publicity stunt two weeks in the making.

The Heenes are amateur storm chasers and had twice appeared on ABC's Wife Swap. They were apparently trying to pitch a TV series based on science, with a tentative deal in place with the Wife Swap producers.

Under terms of the plea agreements, Richard Heene faces up to 90 days in jail, probation and a fine. Mayumi Heene could get 60 days, likely to be served in a work-release program, and probation. Richard Heene also could have to pay restitution for tens of thousands of dollars in costs incurred by police.

Well, it looks like the Heenes got that publicity they wanted... Everyone certainly knows who the friggin' "Balloon Boy" is. It doesn't like there will be any reality television show in their future. But maybe some jail time.

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