BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - A Chico attorney was arrested for helping her boyfriend remain a fugitive on several felony arrest warrants, according to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.
Ramsey said Stephana Femino, 47 of Chico, was arrested Friday morning outside of the Butte County Superior Court after an arrest warrant was issued on Thursday night.
The investigation began in June after authorities discovered Femino was suspected of helping 49-year-old Adam Ashford, her boyfriend and client, in remaining a fugitive, according to Ramsey.
Ashford is a convicted felon and was on probation in several cases, including possession of drugs while armed with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon and evading police, Ramsey said.
Ramsey added Ashford violated the terms of his probation and failed to appear in court on May 11. A no-bail arrest warrant was issued by a judge.
Ramsey said Femino represented Ashford and was in court when he did not appear. A few weeks later, authorities became aware of evidence that showed Femino was helping Ashford be free and avoid the warrants.
In late June, Ramsey said his office began its formal investigation and learned Femino was allowing Ashford to stay in her law office in Chico. Ramsey also learned the two were in a relationship.
Ashford was arrested on June 24 when he was in a car with Femino near Butte College, according to Ramsey. He is currently held in the Butte County Jail on no bail.
Ramsey said investigators seized his phone and got a specialized search warrant to protect the privacy of Femino’s clients, as there was a claim Ashford worked as an office manager for Femino.
After a download of Ashford’s phone, hundreds of texts between the two were found while Ashford was out of jail. Ramsey said the text messages confirmed Femino was giving Ashford money and shelter to help him in remaining a fugitive.
After this, investigators determined there was sufficient evidence to arrest and charge Femino for harboring a fugitive, according to Ramsey. They then obtained an arrest warrant for Femino.
Femino’s arrest has been shared with the California State Bar, Ramsey said. In recent months, local judges have sanctioned Femino over $10,000 in fines.