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Maine Zumba instructor pleads guilty to prostitution

5:57 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
Alexis Wright, 30, seen here leaving the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland, Maine, on March 13. In a plea deal Friday, the fitness instructor pleaded guilty to running a one-woman prostitution business from her Zumba studio in Kennebunk. (Photo: Robert F. Bukaty, AP)
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(USA TODAY) -- A Maine fitness instructor pleaded guilty Friday to running a one-woman prostitution business from her Zumba studio in a small seaside town.


In plea bargain that avoids a media-saturated trial, Alexis Wright, 30, pleaded guilty to 20 misdemeanor counts, including three tax-related felonies that were reduced. Prosecutors said they would recommend a jail term of 10 months.


Wright had been charged with 106 counts, which included felony charges of theft by deception and evasion of income tax. Those charges carried penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. All of the prostitution charges were misdemeanors.

Wright was accused of conspiring with insurance agent Mark Strong Sr., 57. She kept detailed records and secretly recorded her sex acts with an estimated 150 customers. On Valentine's Day 2012, police raided her studio in Kennebunk and her home in nearby Wells.

Earlier this month, Strong was convicted of 13 misdemeanor counts of promoting prostitution and sentenced to 20 days in jail.

The scandal rocked the small coastal town in southern Maine. In October, police began releasing the names of local men -- some of them prominent -- accused of paying Wright for sex. The publicity ruined families and careers.

So far, a former mayor, a high school hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter have been charged.

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