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Father in 'Balloon boy' hoax moves from jail to home detention

By Alan Duke, CNN
Richard Heene and his wife, Mayumi, leave a Fort Collins, Colorado, courtroom after a December sentencing hearing.
Richard Heene and his wife, Mayumi, leave a Fort Collins, Colorado, courtroom after a December sentencing hearing.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Richard Heene pleaded guilty in November to attempting to influence a public servant.
  • He's finishing his 90-day sentence with home detention, authorities say
  • He also must serve four years of probation, complete community service
  • Heene's wife, guilty of false reporting, will start 20-day term after husband's sentence ends
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(CNN) -- The man who pulled a hoax by saying his 6-year-old son was drifting over Colorado in a balloon is finishing his 90-day sentence with home detention, authorities said.

Richard Heene pleaded guilty in November to a felony count of attempting to influence a public servant. He began a 90-day sentence in jail on January 11 and last week began home detention.

He must stay home at least 12 hours each day, leaving only for work or visits to his lawyer or doctor, Larimer County sheriff spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said.

His movements will be monitored with an electronic ankle device, which he can take off April 4, Campanella said.

He also must serve four years of probation and complete 100 hours of community service each of those years.

Heene's wife, Mayumi, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false reporting to authorities. Her 20 days in jail are to begin after her husband's sentence ends so their children will have a parent able to care for them.

Prosecutors said Heene and his wife staged their son's disappearance last October to generate publicity for themselves because they wanted to star in a reality television show.

Heene told authorities that his son, Falcon, was drifting over eastern Colorado in a homemade balloon that had come loose from its moorings in the family's backyard. Authorities raced to track the balloon while puzzling over ways to rescue the boy inside.

Their efforts received widespread news coverage that riveted people around the nation.

When the balloon came to rest in a field, however, Heene's son was not inside. The boy later was found hiding in the family's house.

That night, during an interview with CNN's "Larry King Live," the boy gave authorities what Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden called an "Aha! moment."

"You guys said we did this for the show," Falcon said in the interview after his father asked him why he had not come out from hiding when he heard his parents calling for him. Later in the interview, the Heenes said their son was simply confused.

Authorities said Falcon's mother later admitted that the whole thing was a hoax and that Falcon was safe in their home the whole time.

CNN's Amanda O'Donnell contributed to this report.

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