The Heene family, accused of perpetrating the Balloon Boy hoax to promote a reality show, are looking at some serious criminal charges this week or next.
The couple's lawyer, David Lane, expects charges to be filed by Wednesday, and says the Heenes will themselves in to avoid the spectacle of a public arrest.
Ironic that Richard Heene does not want a public spectacle this time.
Sheriff Jim Alderden wants to charge Richard and Mayumi Heene with felonies and says the hoax was two weeks in the planning and a marketing ploy.
They're also hunting for any accomplices who helped the Heenes.
"We certainly know that there's a conspiracy between the husband and wife, and you've probably seen some of the e-mails and some of the things on the Internet suggesting that there may be other conspirators involved," Alderden said.
A man named Robert Thomas claims he worked for Richard Heene and helped plan the Balloon Boy stunt. Police are also investigating an unnamed media outlet that agreed to pay money to the Heenes with regard to the incident.
Richard Heene could be out many thousands of dollars before this is over.
Also helping the cops' case? A profile Heene posted on RealityWanted.com, hocking himself to casting agents and producers as the next big reality star.
Heene created his profile on September 28, 2009.
While Richard describes himself as a scientist, a contractor, high school educated, married, with children, male, and straight, he didn't make a specific pitch for any specific show. Could that be because his big idea was this hoax?
Also, police have learned that Richard Heene has a criminal record in L.A. and was sentenced to jail in April 1997 and charged with misdemeanor vandalism, vehicle tampering, and disturbing the peace. The victim's name is not known.
The national media frenzy began last Thursday afternoon when Falcon Heene, 6, was believed to be carried off inside a giant, homemade helium balloon.
The National Guard tried to rescue Falcon via helicopter and a search was conducted after the empty balloon landed - under the assumption he fell out.
Turns out Falcon was at his house the whole time. Rumors of a hoax popped up 10 seconds later, and Falcon basically confirmed as much on Larry King.