The reality TV couple behind the 'balloon boy' drama have been ordered to pay $42,000 to the state of Colorado to cover the costs of their October (09) hoax.

Richard and Mayumi Heene, who appeared on U.S. show Wife Swap, have pleaded guilty to falsely reporting that their six-year-old son was trapped inside a flying experimental balloon, which became untethered in their back yard. The boy was later found to be hiding in the family's garage.

The Heenes must now hand over the sum in restitution to the agencies which contributed to the rescue attempt. The money will be split between the police, the national guard and the Federal Aviation Administration, reports the Denver Post.

However, the Heenes' lawyer has requested receipts from the Larimer County District Attorney's office to justify the amount.

The husband and wife is next due in court on 23 December (09) to answer one felony count of attempting to influence a public servant, and one misdemeanour count of false reporting to authorities, respectively. (MT/WNWCZM/MJ)

Copyright 2009 WENN

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