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Fitness instructor gets 10-month term for prostitution

ALFRED, Maine — A high-profile prostitution scandal featuring sex videos, adultery, exhibitionism, and more than 100 clients drew to a close Friday when a Zumba fitness instructor who turned her studio into a brothel was sentenced to 10 months in jail.

Alexis Wright was sentenced under a plea agreement to 20 counts including prostitution, conspiracy, tax evasion, and theft by deception.

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Justice Nancy Mills extended wishes for success after the sentence was imposed.

‘‘Based on what you have to say and what I know about you from your attorney, I know that you will succeed when you’re released and that you will prevail. I wish you success,’’ Mills said.

Wright’s attorney said the defendant had a difficult childhood, witnessing domestic violence and suffering sexual abuse, before she met Mark Strong, her eventual business partner. She said Strong used her background to manipulate her.

Addressing the judge through tears, Wright said she felt relief when police raided her business on Feb. 12, 2012, because she wanted out. She said she intends to work when she’s released to help other women in similar situations.

‘‘In my eyes I’m free. I’m free from this. And I have an incredible amount of strength that I knew was in me somewhere. Now that I have the strength I want to encourage others to come forward,’’ she told the judge.

‘‘It’s my intention to stand up for what is right. When I’m out, I’m going to pursue helping people fight through situations that are similar to mine. I’m optimistic that something good will come out of this.’’

Afterward, she was led from court to begin her sentence.

Wright, 30, was accused of conspiring with an insurance business owner to run a prostitution business in which she videotaped clients without their knowledge and kept detailed records over an 18-month period indicating she made $150,000 tax-free.

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