Sheriff: Balloon Boy Family Made Deal with Media Outlet
Larimer County Sheriff Jim Aldernen says a media outlet may have played a role in the Heene family's balloon hoax, according to The Associated Press.
Documents show a media outlet made a deal to pay the Heene family, Aldernen told the AP. He did not name the outlet in question, but he says the organization is in an industry that blurs "the line between entertainment and news."
Wife Swap co-star: Richard Heene "had the mind of a mad scientist"
It's unclear whether the agreement was signed before or after the balloon incident or whether the outlet in question was a conspirator in the stunt. If the outlet was involved, however, it could also face charges.
On top of the criminal charges Richard and Mayumi Heene are expected to face, People reported Tuesday that the Heenes are now under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"This is unusual," Mike Fergus, a spokesperson for the FAA in Washington state, told the magazine. "But we investigate any air incident. The investigation is solely focusing on if we had any violations of our regulatory authority or regulations."
Heene lawyer: Arresting Heene parents in front of kids "would be child abuse"
Fergus said the FAA could only file civil charges against the Heenes if there was a violation during the balloon's two-hour flight.
Aldernen previously stated that the Heenes could face charges for conspiracy, attempting to influence a public servant, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and false reporting to authorities. Charges have yet to be filed.