Alexis Wright charged with Zumba prostitution ring pleads not guilty

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Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright, 29, turns toward her attorney Sarah Churchill, left, during her arraignment Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 in Portland, Maine on 109 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money at her Kennebunk fitness studio and office. Wright pleaded not guilty on charges she ran a prostitution business out of her Kennebunk Zumba studio and secretly filmed her encounters. (AP Photo/Joel Page)

Alexis Wright, a 29-year-old Zumba instructor charged with running a prostitution ring out of her Zumba studio in Kennebunk, Maine, pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Wright is facing 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and allegedly providing sex for money. Wright’s business partner, Mark Strong Sr., pleaded not guilty to 59 counts of promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy.

Rumors that the quiet and small town of Kennebunk’s Zumba instructor Alexis Wright was living a double life began to spread in September 2011. According to the police affidavit issued , anonymous phone calls from concerned citizens came in alerting authorities that Wright’s Pura Vida Studio, 8 York St., was the site of “suspicious activity.” The callers named the suspect as Alexis Wright.

Alexis Wright

Screen grab photo of Alexis Wright that was posted on her website PuraVidaStudio.com.(http://johntv.com)

Wright also rented a small one-room office above a hair studio and flower shop across the street to her Zumba Studio where the alleged sexual acts took place. Wright video taped her sexual encounters with clients, according to the report. Officials armed with a search warrant seized more than 100 hours of video and 14,000 screen shots from computers at Wright’s business, after Wright’s landlord made a complaint.

Officials say that based on Alexis Wright’s ledger she earned approximately $150,000 for her sexual acts. Wright was allegedly receiving public assistance from Maine where she claimed her income to be around $6,000 a year, according to Seacoast Online.

Investigators will next begin speaking with Wright’s clients to gather evidence for the case.

Alexis Wright Kennebunk’s ‘Zumba Madam’

To the 10,000 people of Kennebunk, Alexis Wright’s prostitution scandal, guilty or not, has tainted the tourist destination that sits between Boston and Portland.

Investigators began to piece together the complaints against Wright and on Dec. 22, 2011, an investigator posed as a client and arranged an appointment with Wright, who went by the alias “Lydia” to her clients or Johns. “The woman identified as Lydia agreed to engage in unspecified sexual conduct for money with the agent,” the affidavit stated.

But it wasn’t until Feb. 9, 2011, when Alexis Wright’s landlord, Christopher West, told police that he had discovered days earlier upon walking into Wright’s office a massage table and video camera sitting on a tripod. West rented the small office space to Wright for one year.

The tenant of the hair salon, just below Wright, complained to West that she saw a lot of cars and men arriving to the office who would stay for 30 minutes to an hour at at time, according to the affidavit. Some of these men had gym bags others went in empty handed.

The woman told West she heard “a lot of moaning and groaning” coming from Alexis Wright’s office. That’s when West decided to check it out. West did some research on Wright and a search led him to a porn website called tubekitty.com, where he found a video of Alexis Wright performing a sexual act with herself. He observed that the setting in the video was in fact the office space he leased to Wright.

About a week later, on Valentine’s day, police issued a search warrant to Alexis Wright’s residences including her Zumba Studio, the office space and her home. Officials determined based on Wright’s ledger that she had generated $150,000 for her sexual acts and that her business partner Strong “had a significant business and personal connection to these illegal acts.”

Investigators found footage of “Alexis Wright and Mark W. Strong Sr. engaging in multiple sexual activities together, including but not limited to, sexual intercourse, anal sex, oral sex, and Internet foreplay sex.”

Strong’s lawyer Daniel Lilley said Strong invested in Wright’s Pura Vida Studio and loaned her money because he believed it was a good business venture, reports Seacoast Online.

Watch video report on Alexis Wright’s Zumba prostitution scandal

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