Alexis Wright Charged With Running Prostitution Ring Out of Zumba Studio

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Alexis Wright, a Zumba instructor in Maine, was charged this week with running a prostitution business out of her studio and secretly videotaping her encounters.

Alexis Wright Photos

Wright, 29, pleaded not guilty in Portland to 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money.

Alexis' alleged business partner, 57-year-old Mark Strong Sr., pleaded not guilty to 59 counts of promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy.

Prosecutors haven't detailed why Wright was videotaping her encounters, but they gathered more than 100 hours of video and nearly 14,000 screen shots from seized computers.

Police have begun issuing summons to Wright's customers and will release the names.

Townspeople in Kennebunk, Me., say they've heard that lawyers, doctors, law enforcement officials, a TV personality and other well-known people in town are connected.

The superintendent of schools issued a memo to teachers and staff last week about students who have relatives on the list of names and may be teased or have trouble coping.

Wright opened her Pura Vida fitness studio in 2010 teaching Zumba, a Latin-inspired fitness program that combines aerobics and dance, about 25 miles south of Portland.

She later rented a one-room office across the street, above a hair salon and a flower store.

That same year, an anonymous blog wrote that Wright was not who she claimed to be: "She's living a double life and is a porn star. She may be a prostitute for all I know."

Police began investigating after hearing reports of cars coming to the studio and the office at all hours of the day and night and men going in for a half-hour or hour at a time.

The landlord who rented the office space to Wright told investigators one of his tenants sometimes heard "moaning and groaning" coming from Wright's office, the affidavit said.

When the landlord checked the office himself, he found a massage table and a video camera on a tripod.

He told police he later found an online porn video of Wright that was recorded in the office, which he recognized by the walls, the floor and the window.

When police raided the studio and office in February, they seized electronic ledgers of sexual acts, video recordings and records of clients and the sexual acts performed by Wright.

Police said that judging by what they found, Wright's alleged sexual activities generated up to $150,000.

Investigators said there was both a "business and personal" connection between Strong and the studio. Video footage showed Wright and Strong having sex, according to the affidavit.

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