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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.


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