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Balloon Boy’s Parents to Plead Guilty, May Serve Jail Time

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The parents of "balloon boy" have turned themselves in — and might be headed for jail.

David Lane, lawyer for Richard and Mayumi Heene, says that his clients have reached a settlement with Larimer Country, Colo. authorities, according to a report by NPR.

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Richard will plead guilty to a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant. He faces 90 days in jail if the court approves the settlement.

Facing 60 days in jail, meanwhile, his wife Mayumi will plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of making a false report to authorities.

Why the lesser charge for the mother? As a citizen of Japan, Mayumi faced deportation had she admitted to a felony. Her husband Richard, his lawyer said, would "fall on his sword" to avoid such an outcome.

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Notes attorney Lane: "It is supremely ironic that law enforcement has expressed such grave concern over the welfare of the children . . . But it was ultimately the threat of taking the children's mother from the family and deporting her to Japan which fueled this deal." Larimer County authorities have yet to confirm this deal.

On Oct. 15, 6 year-old Falcon Heene was reported inside a silver helium balloon — one constructed by his storm-chasing, inventor parents — that floated 40 miles away from his family's home in Fort Collins, Colo. home.

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The boy was found safe and unharmed in their attic hours later, and it was discovered that his parents, pitching a reality show, had staged the incident, which captured international headlines for several days.

Although they were complicit in the hoax, Falcon and his two older brothers (the eldest is 10) will not face charges because of their ages. The quirky family had previously appeared on the reality show Wife Swap. Young Falcon famously vomited on-air during morning show appearances following the stunt.

UPDATE: The District Attorney's Office of Larimer and Jackson Counties have now formally filed charges against the pair, ETonline reports. Richard now faces two to six years in jail and a $200,000 to $500,000 fine. Mayumi faces six month in jail and a $50 to $250 fine.

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