A Maine dance teacher received 10 months in jail for operating a prostitution ring.
(Image source: WMTW ) BY MATT PICHT A Zumba dance instructor was sentenced on Friday for using her dance clinic as a front for prostitution. Thirty-year-old Alexis Wright ran the illicit business out of her Zumba dance studio in the small town of Kennebunk, Maine. After receiving noise complaints from some of the neighbors, local police raided her office in February of 2012, uncovering evidence of Wright’s illegal activities. (Via NECN ) Before being sentenced, Wright herself took the stand for the first time in the proceedings, and in a tearful testimony revealed a shocking history of sexual abuse. (Via HLN ) Wright testified to the court about the traumatic abuse that she suffered at the hands of her father, and claimed she was manipulated into prostitution by her business partner and pimp, insurance agent Mark Strong Senior. The state claims Wright was a willing participant in the crime. (Via Bangor Daily News ) The scandal has rocked the small New England community. They found a list of 150 local clients, one hundred of which have pleaded guilty to charges. ABC reports, the list includes several prominent individuals. “The thirty-year-old even secretly videotaped them and kept detailed records. … Prosecutors also charged her clients, which include a former mayor, a high-school hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer, and a firefighter.” But prostitution isn’t Wright’s only crime – she was also charged for defrauding the state out of $40,000 dollars of welfare, while making over $150,000 from her prostitution work, tax free. A law professor at the University of Maine told U.S. News & World Report , it’s likely most of the charges were driven by the welfare fraud. “Prostitution, big whoop. … Ripping off the government – that gets peoples’ backs up.” Superior Court Judge Nancy Mills sentenced Wright to 10 months in jail and a fine of almost $58,000. But Judge Mills did offer Wright a final supportive comment as the trial closed. “I know that you will succeed when you are released. I know that you will prevail, and I wish you success.” (Via WKMG ) Wright’s business partner Strong Sr. was convicted of thirteen counts of promotion of prostitution in March. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail and a $3,000 fine.