Former Nelly Producer Headed to Prison

Waiel “Wally” Yaghnam was sentenced to 3 years for a connection to a murder-for-hire scheme

click to enlarge Waiel "Wally" Yaghnam, left, has been indicted along with James "Tim" Norman. - ST. LOUIS CITY JUSTICE CENTER/MADISON COUNTY, MISS., DETENTION CENTER
Waiel "Wally" Yaghnam, left, has been indicted along with James "Tim" Norman.

Former hip hop producer turned insurance salesman Waiel "Wally" Yaghnam was sentenced to three years in prison today for helping reality TV star Tim Norman fraudulently take out a life insurance policy on his nephew Andre Montgomery.

Earlier this year, Norman was found guilty of orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot against Montgomery. Norman and Montgomery starred on the Oprah Winfrey Network hit reality TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pie's. Norman was found guilty of hiring a gunman to shoot his nephew and paying a stripper to lure Montgomery outside to his death.

U.S. District Judge John A. Ross stated there wasn't evidence showing that Yaghnam knew he was participating in a murder plot, but that by committing the insurance fraud, “It was a foreseeable outcome that bad things were going to happen.”

Norman and Yagham began working together to obtain the bogus life insurance policy on Montgomery in October 2014. After several denials, they eventually obtained a $250,000 policy.

Montgomery was killed on March 14, 2016, outside a home recording studio on Natural Bridge Avenue across from Fairgrounds Park. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Norman began trying to collect on the policy.

The 44-year-old Yagham pleaded guilty in July to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. It is a big change for Yaghnam who was known for producing chart-topping hits for Nelly in the early 2000s, including the 2001 hit "#1."

Norman was found guilty at his trial in September.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, "Montgomery’s relatives pointed out in statements during Monday’s hearing that Yaghnam coached Norman on how to pretend to be Montgomery to obtain the policy, a policy that was necessary to make the murder-for-hire profitable for Norman."

Norman is scheduled to be sentenced March 2.

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Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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