Richard Heene, the infamous Balloon Dad (let’s put the onus where it belongs, shall we?) in Fort Collins, Colo., is going to jail for his little scheme.
It’s only 90 days, but at least he’ll be seeing the wrong side of some bars for a while. The first 30 days will be served entirely in jail. The last 60 will be work-release, if he has a job, where he’ll work during the day and return to the jail at night. Then he’ll be on probation for four years. The judge said he won’t have to start serving the time until after the holidays.
While on probation, Heene is forbidden to receive any profits from books, TV, interviews, etc., based on the balloon hoax. He has to sign a document now that will send any such profits directly to a restitution fund, and has to submit his tax returns to the court to prove he’s abiding by the ruling. He’ll also be subject to drug testing.
Restitution to be paid by Heene and his wife has been estimated at $42,000, but the judge today did not rule on the exact amount due.
Heene got off easy. The judge said the sentence could have been as much as six years in jail.
Heene’s wife, Mayumi, was sentenced to 20 days of supervised public service and four years’ probation.
Heene apologized after the sentencing. Don’t they all? He’s not sorry he inconvenienced people; the furor is exactly what he intended and hoped for. He’s only sorry he got caught.