David Zalubowski / Invision/AP 1 / 4
David Zalubowski / Invision/AP 1 / 4

So much for a happy holiday: Balloon boy's dad is going to the slammer.

On Wednesday, Richard Heene was sentenced to four years of supervised probation for hatching a hoax that his 6-year-old son, Falcon, had floated away in a homemade helium balloon.

He was also ordered to serve 30 days of "straight time" in jail, in addition to 60 additional days on a work-release program.

He also must pay an as-yet unspecified restitution.

During his sentencing, Heene choked back tears as he stood before the judge.

"I'm very, very sorry, and I want to apologize to all the rescue workers out there and the people who got involved in the community. That's it," he said.

His lawyer David Lane added, "You know, what happened here has spun so wildly out of control that nobody hand any inkling that this would be the worldwide event that it turned into."

In November, Heene and his wife Mayumi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false reporting to authorities.

Court documents have revealed that the couple mounted the plan about two weeks before the Oct. 15 incident and "instructed their three children to lie to authorities as well as the media regarding this hoax." Their motive was to "make the Heene family more marketable for future media interests," the documents said.

A prosecutor said Wednesday that the search-and-rescue launched cost at least $47,000.


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