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Balloon Boy. Remeber him? On October 15, 2009, the country was captivated by Falcon Heene, the boy floating away a balloon ... or so it seemed.

His parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, who had appeared on the reality show Wife Swap one year prior, frantically alerted authorities to this crisis.

A giant weather balloon they were in possession of was accidentally released from their property with their 6-year-old inside. A media circus erupted.

Local officers were dispatched. A National Guard helicopter was launched. Air traffic controllers halted all area takeoffs. All to rescue Balloon Boy.

Only when the balloon landed, no boy was found in it. Instead, Falcon Heene had been hiding in the attic of his parents' garage. The entire time.

Public concern quickly turned to suspicion, fueled by the boy's comments on CNN that it was "for the show," i.e. a future reality show his folks pined for.

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Few things are as entertaining as celebrity mug shots. But as far as booking photos of the notorious go, the one below is immediately one of our favorites.

That's because it was taken when Richard Heene went to prison.

The father of Falcon Heene and perpetrator of the Balloon Boy hoax was photographed after turning himself in to the Larimer County Detention Center.

Richard pleaded guilty to charges of telling the world his son was in danger just to get a reality show falsely attempting to influence a public servant.

He will spend 90 days behind bars, or not nearly long enough.

See you in 90 days, Richard Heene (unfortunately).

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We thought the book was closed on Richard Heene. We should be so lucky.

Sadly, none other than Balloon Boy's dad is back in our faces again, denying in an interview with Larry King that his infamous hoax was a hoax at all.

What an ass clown.

In the interview with Larry King set to air Friday, Richard Heene insisted that he truly believed son Falcon was inside the runaway homemade craft.

In other words, the Balloon Boy hoax was not a hoax. Yeah, right.

"We had searched high and low," Heene said, pretending to get all choked up. "I knew he was in the craft. In my mind, there was no other place."

Richard Heene begins a 90-day jail sentence Monday.

So why, if he's so virtuous, would Heene plead guilty to felony charges and accept jail time for the stunt? Well, because it's all his wife's damn fault!

Richard said he copped a plea protect wife Mayumi Heene, who would have faced deportation back to Japan if she had been convicted of a felony.

Instead, as part of the plea agreement, the Balloon Mom ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor - making a false report - and got 20 days in jail.

"I'm not disputing the fact that I did have to plead guilty, and when I say I have to, I had to do it to save my family and save my wife," Richard said.

If he were innocent, no one would be convicted of anything, of course. Details.

Unfortunately for this waste of oxygen, his "revelation" comes just days before he's due to report to jail, meaning no more interviews. How tragic.

Follow the jump for a clip of Heene lying through his teeth and attempting to milk a 16th minute of fame on Larry King Live if you can stomach it:

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The Balloon Boy stunt captivated a nation. Now it's saddled Richard Heene with tens of thousands of dollars in fines and landed him in jail for three months.

Heene and wife Mayumi, who together conspired and executed the now-infamous Balloon Boy hoax, both were sentenced to relatively light jail terms today.

Richard Heene got 90 days in jail, but that includes 60 days of work release that will let him pursue work as a construction contractor while doing his time.

Mayumi Heene, who was potentially facing deportation if convicted of a felony, will not be. She will, however, serve 20 days in jail after Richard's release.

Both were also sentenced to four years probation after securing a plea deal and have been barred from profiting from the balloon spectacle in any way.

A conniving Richard Heene pretends to be relieved that his six-year-old son Falcon was not actually floating away in a balloon. In reality he planned the whole hoax.

The Colorado couple feigned ignorance when their son, believed to be missing and drifting off in a homemade balloon, was actually in the attic the whole time.

It turns out they were actually trying to shop a reality show about a science-crazed family (themselves) and knew darn well he wasn't in danger. Unbelievable.

Heene choked back tears as he said he was sorry for the stunt, especially to the rescue workers who chased down false reports of Falcon Heene floating away.

Prosecutors are still seeking to recover all the costs of the search and investigation, which are already at $42,000 and quite possibly climbing much higher.

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The parents who orchestrated the Balloon Boy hoax were hit with a tab of $42,000 from local, state and federal agencies for their October, national TV stunt.

There may be more where that came from, too. But the Heenes' attorney, David Lane, told the Denver Post the Fort Collins, Colo., couple isn't ready to pay.

"Let's see the bills," he said, adding that he was e-mailed the amounts by the Larimer County D.A.'s office. "They're not paying until they see some receipts."

The Heenes reached a plea deal on charges stemming from the hoax, in which they led the world to believe their son was on board a homemade balloon.

Unfortunately, they avoided serving time behind bars ... or on a homemade balloon hurtling into outer space. Now that punishment would fit the crime ...

Richard and Mayumi Heene are to be sentenced Wednesday in Larimer County.

A judge may determine they owe more in restitution to responding agencies, from police to the National Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"If they've got records to show these are legitimate costs, then we can discuss it," Lane said. "But, first off, these people don't have that kind of money."

A rapt TV audience watched the flying saucer-shaped balloon drift across the Colorado plains October 16 after the Heenes said son Falcon was on board.

When the balloon landed, the boy was not inside.

He was hidden in an attic at his house and later said on national TV that the incident was done for a show. That's right, he outed his own parents on CNN.

Genius.

Richard Heene was shopping a reality show about a science-crazy family (his). Fortunately, no media outlets conspired with them or hired them since.

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If you listen to music today, you're bound to hear some if not most artists aided by Auto-Tune, a phase vocoder that corrects pitch in vocal performances.

Thus, it has enabled individuals with no ability to sing, such as Kanye West, Heidi Montag and Britney Spears, among many others, to pretend they can!

In addition to correcting inaccuracies, auto-tuning vocoders can also be used to amusingly distort a human voice if pitch is dramatically raised or lowered.

Using this technology, you can turn anything into a good song. That said, below is a video detailing the year that was: synched up and perfectly in tune!

Here's Spencer Pratt, Octomom, Lady Gaga, Balloon Boy, Jon Gosselin, Sully the airline pilot, Kanye himself and even the U.S. President recapping 2009 ...

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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Hollywood Gossip!

What would this traditional holiday be without family, food, football and reflection upon the things we appreciate most in life - in the case of THG, that means some of the turkeys we had the privilege of covering this year.

With that said, we present our Top 10 Turkeys of 2009 ...

10. Kanye West and Richard Heene (tie). Perhaps it's unfair to include him by virtue of one incident, but Kanye's hijacking of Taylor Swift's VMA speech was an all-timer. He's almost as full of hot air as Richard Heene's invention.

9. The Kardashians. Pregnancies. Breakups. Marriages. Reality shows. Twitter accounts. Blogs. So many Kardashians, so few ways to escape them.

8. Miley Cyrus. Whether she's grinding on stripper poles, angering Asians, making up her own controversies or deleting her Twitter, the teen can be a bad influence.

7. Tila Tequila. A late entry to the list thanks to her ustream rant. There's no PR stunt she won't stoop to, or article of clothing she won't remove, to get attention. 

6. Spencer Pratt. 2008's top turkey staged two weddings, caused an epic fiasco on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, pimped his own wife to Playboy and pretended to get a vasectomy on The Hills. For him, a relatively tame year.

Sorry, Spencer Pratt. You're only our sixth biggest turkey this year.

5. Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston (tie). One's a possible 2012 presidential candidate, the other the 19-year-old unwed father of her grandson. Both have gone rogue (one baring all in Playgirl, the other in a book by that name). Neither shuts up.

4. Perez Hilton. Talk about a fowl human being. With every ounce of fame the celeb gossip magnate garners, the more his own celebrity goes to his head and the more damage he does to his own causes. That will.i.am fight won't be the last.

3. Dr. Conrad Murray. Worst. Doctor. Ever.

2. Carrie Prejean. The dethroned Miss California became a phenomenon after voicing her opposition to gay marriage. She went on to become a self-serving, hypocritical, lying solo sex tape star who throws hissy fits on Larry King.

1. Jon Gosselin. No explanation required. When you're talking about turkeys, there's the Ed Hardy-wearing d-bag and there's everyone else playing for second.

Grade A Douchebag

The biggest turkey of the year, ladies and gentlemen. Need we say more?

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Worst parents ever Richard and Mayumi Heene have officially pleaded guilty to a felony and misdemeanor charge, respectively, stemming from the now-infamous Balloon Boy hoax that shocked and appalled the world last month.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for December 23.

Appearing in a Ft. Collins, Colo., courtroom Friday, the Heenes admitted concocting and lying about son Falcon's fake "flight" aboard a saucer-shaped balloon.

"This is designed to keep the family together," says Richard's attorney David Lane. The couple's kids "seem like happy, well-adjusted kids," says Lane. "[They have] huddled together as a family. These are well cared for, well-loved kids."

A subdued Richard Heene pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant. He could face 90 days in jail and a $500,000 fine.

Richard Heene Mug Shot

A photo of Richard Heene where he belongs: A police station.

He also may be responsible for restitution, at leads $62,000 more. If the worst dad ever does go to jail, it certainly won't be for as long as some might like.

Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of false reporting to authorities, which she admitted in an affidavit. She could face up to 60 days.

Richard Heene also requested that bond be modified so he can seek employment next week in New York and California. Who would employ this loser?

Lane declined to discuss it, but said: "Richard can't own a firearm [as a felon], but other than that he is a free person to do whatever any free person does."

Might he profit from the hoax? Rest assured, ladies and gentlemen: "Colorado has a statute that prohibits him from profiting from wrongdoing," says Lane.

Serves him right. Sucker.

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Richard and Mayumi Heene will plead guilty to orchestrating the Balloon Boy hoax in Larimer County, Colorado court Friday, according to attorney David Lane.

Mayumi Heene will plead guilty to false reporting to police, a Class 3 misdemeanor (the lowest under Colorado law) with a stipulated sentence of probation.

Richard Heene, the "mastermind" behind the pathetic stunt, will also plead guilty to charges of attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony.

The prosecutor has stipulated to a sentence of probation. The stipulations carry the possibility of up to 90 days in jail for Richard and 60 for Mayumi.

Analysts say the deal makes sense for both sides, given the cost of a trial and that Mayumi, a Japanese citizen, faced deportation if convicted of a felony.

Of course, the judge doesn't have to accept the deal and is allowed to alter the terms. While rare, the level of outrage in the case could prompt it here.


Still no word on whether the Heenes are going to pay any restitution for the costs of the Balloon Boy hoax, but you can be sure that will come up in court.

The two were investigated for reporting their six-year-old son, Falcon Heene, drifted away on a homemade balloon that broke loose from tethers in October.

That set off a frenzy among police, firefighters, National Guard and media as the UFO-shaped balloon hurtled 50 miles across the northern Colorado sky.

The balloon eventually crashed into a field and authorities discovered it empty, sparking fears the boy had fallen out until he was found safe at home.

The Heenes publicly denied any hoax, but as suspicion mounted, Mayumi admitted to an investigator that the balloon was released intentionally and that the couple knew Falcon was hiding in the attic the whole time and wasn't on board.

According to an affidavit she signed, Mayumi Heene said the PR stunt was intended to make the family "more marketable for future media interest" and that the three boys had been instructed to lie to authorities and the media.

That about sums it up. These are pretty much the worst human beings imaginable. You know it's bad when even this guy is hating on you ...

Kanye vs. Balloon Boy

Kanye is unimpressed with the Balloon Boy hoax. [Art by imaletyoufinish.com]

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Balloon Boy's dad is about to get popped by the D.A.

Larimer County, Colo., investigators have presented their case to the District Attorney, meaning charges are imminent against masterminds (a misnomer if here there were one, as they are masterful at nothing) Mayumi and Richard Heene.

The District Attorney "will be making a charging decision as soon as we have had an opportunity to complete a careful review and analysis of this case."

Six-year-old Falcon Heene raised suspicions on CNN October 15 with his "for a show" comment, sparking debate over whether his parents really believed he crawled into a homemade balloon and drifted away. But that was just the beginning.

A search warrant released Friday revealed that Mayumi Heene confessed all.

Meanwhile, the Heenes and their three children are holed up in their Colorado home, where the front porch is dotted with flowers and messages of support.

What kind of idiots want to "support" these buffoons with anything but a kick in the pants, we have no idea, but it's nice that they have kind neighbors.

For the most part, the Heene family has kept a low profile since their ridiculous Balloon Boy hoax played out on national TV and was subsequently exposed.

After taking the family truck out for a short time, Richard Heene returned with his kids and hustled them inside the garage, said he was not talking to the press, and quickly shut the garage door," an eyewitness tells E! News.

"This happened in a span of 15 seconds."

Authorities say they won't be bringing any charges against the three minor Heenes, including Falcon Heene, the one whose disappearance was dramatically staged.

Richard and Mayumi aren't so lucky. They may face counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, attempting to influence a public servant and conspiracy.

We suppose being a liar and bad parent, and representing all that is soulless and wrong with America isn't a formal charge, but we'll settle for the above felonies.

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