As far as I understand the concept of laundering money, it's all about booking more revenues than made in reality. So when one wants to lauder 100k dollars, they sell 100k cans of coke for 1 dollar and put 100k sales of cokes for two dollars each in the books. The illegal part of revenue (100k dollars) comes not from customers, but from their dirty money, and now it's cleaned.

Now, in Ozark, Marty is caught putting much more cost in the books than defrayed in reality - Rachel, the Blue Cat Lodge owner, finds 25 air-conditioners booked instead of 4 for example, so Marty increased COSTS, not REVENUES.

How is it cleaning of any money? Am I missing something?

  • Exactly what I was thinking, when he bought the overpriced carpetting. Sounds like the wrong way around to me too. – EluciusFTW Aug 15 '17 at 13:25
  • @EluciusFTW, not if the carpeting owner is Del. – Silver Bebs Jul 29 at 7:55

Note that Marty's laundry problem is different from the common laundry problem. What I call "common laundry problem" (the one you seem to refer to) is when you have a big amount of dirty cash and you want it to make it clean in your own bank account.

Now here, Marty's problem is different. He has clean cash of his own, and his mission, to prove his proficiency to Del, is to legally transfer the 8 million to Del's accounts.

I believe the Cartel has various legitimate business activities that include construction materials (we learn later that they do tiles) and play the role of a buffer to launder money. So they need to buy stuff to these companies to clean the money.

WENDY: I've been trying to tell you since yesterday about that half-built house on Sunrise Beach.
MARTY: What about it?
WENDY: Well, I used the money from the Chicago house and I bought it. Now, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure you can inflate construction costs and launder money through it. And quite frankly, I don't give a shit if you like it or not. 'Cause I feel pretty good about it. It's a good idea, and I did it for our family.
Tonight we improvise (S01E04)

That's the point of the church construction idea.

WENDY: So what exactly is their [Snell's] turf?
MARTY: Well, fucking everything, right? Probably why every single business rejected me the second we got in here. Now I got that dead body. No one's gonna wanna work with me. We're screwed. We got $4 million left to launder. How are we gonna find enough businesses to clean that much without getting into a war with these people?
WENDY: We have to build something of our own.
MARTY: Flipping houses isn't gonna do it, Wendy. Could flip 50 houses, it's not gonna make a dent.
WENDY: Then it has to be bigger.
MARTY: Like what?
WENDY: I don't know. But you can move money through construction costs.
MARTY: Yeah. It'd have to be massive.
WENDY: Yeah! Well, obviously. Lots of people, lots of cash.
MARTY: And no IRS.
WENDY: So what is that?
MARTY: You tell me. WENDY: There's gotta be some business the IRS is afraid to touch.
Ruling Days (S01E05)

The church builders will buy the needed materials to this buffer company, but the buffer company will write way more materials that were actually bought. For example, if the church builders bought $10000 of materials, the buffer company will write 100000$, and Marty will add $90000 dirty money so thats $90000 cleaned in the process.

He used the same trick to renovate the Blue Cat, when Rachel noticed that they wrote way more materials that actually delivered.

Spoiler if you didn't see S01E09:

When the church was burned down and he wrongly blamed Snell, he said to him that instead of burning, he could have contracted a destruction company (his buffer company) that would have overcharged the destruction and they missed an opportunity to clean more money.

  • This isn't a satisfactory answer. For one, Marty's laundering problem is the common one. It's irrelevant that the money was already clean. Del tells him to clean it again as a test. It also doesn't explain how his wife can buy into a funeral parlor on a whim to help out the laundry problem. Does the cartel have its fingers in formaldehyde too? – WakeDemons3 Nov 28 '18 at 1:09
  • Hi @WakeDemons3. Thanks for your feedback. To me it's really easier to launder clean money than dirty money. With clean money, they invest in companies and make them more profitable (legally and artificially) so they can renovate them (Blue Cat, titty bar, funeral parlour, flipping houses...). They are also naturally good in management and instantly see the flaws in these businesses so they buy them to fix the flaws and make more profit. They couldn't buy all these companies with dirty money. – Silver Bebs Nov 28 '18 at 8:43
  • You need to also remember that at the end of season 1, the cartel dumps another 80 million of fully dirty money on Marty, and he begins cleaning it the same exact way. So the original 8 million being clean or not has no bearing on his operations, or the answer. – WakeDemons3 Nov 28 '18 at 18:21
  • 1
    There's still no answer given for how Marty turns inflated expenses into clean money. Normal money laundering turns revenues into clean money. – WakeDemons3 Nov 28 '18 at 18:22
  • @WakeDemons3 the fact that the initial 8M is clean and his, makes it easier for him to buy and invest businesses. This businesses main income is cash (e.g. from the titty bar, and the blue cat) so he'll inflate incomes with dirty cash. Then he buys construction material stuff to Del's companies to renovate the businesses, flip houses, build a church... Del's companies overchage and deliver less material that what is charged. – Silver Bebs Nov 29 '18 at 8:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .