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Thread: Question for money laundering experts

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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Default Question for money laundering experts

    Just finished the Netflix series Ozark in which the main character launders money for a drug cartel. He does this by researching struggling businesses then swoops in with a large cash investment and a requirement that he keeps the books. The show focuses solely on his need to create inflated expenses through these businesses for instance the books showing the purchase of 30 a/c units while only actually having purchased 3. What I fail to understand is how this cleans any money. Wouldn't he also need to own the company that is being paid for those 30 air conditioners? How does creating hyper-inflated expenses launder anything?

    Everything I understand about money laundering I learned from Walter and Saul. They created a legit car wash business and then spent all day washing cash, interspersing fake transactions with real ones. That I get. Ozark's method makes no sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelBlue View Post
    Just finished the Netflix series Ozark in which the main character launders money for a drug cartel. He does this by researching struggling businesses then swoops in with a large cash investment and a requirement that he keeps the books. The show focuses solely on his need to create inflated expenses through these businesses for instance the books showing the purchase of 30 a/c units while only actually having purchased 3. What I fail to understand is how this cleans any money. Wouldn't he also need to own the company that is being paid for those 30 air conditioners? How does creating hyper-inflated expenses launder anything?

    Everything I understand about money laundering I learned from Walter and Saul. They created a legit car wash business and then spent all day washing cash, interspersing fake transactions with real ones. That I get. Ozark's method makes no sense to me.
    I wondered about that too. Not being a money launderer, I hadn't researched too deeply, but it looks as if you are well on your way to a second, profitable career.
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    I think he hires crooked suppliers that are willing to give phony/inflated receipts. I'm pretty sure that he also creates a lot of fake customer transactions to increase the recorded cashflow.

    One thing that bugged me was the time he was explaining how laundering money worked, and he literally put a bunch of cash in the dryer to make it look worn out. What's the point of that? The drug money he received from his boss shouldn't have been pristine in the first place.

    Is there going to be a season 2?
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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Student View Post
    I think he hires crooked suppliers that are willing to give phony/inflated receipts. I'm pretty sure that he also creates a lot of fake customer transactions to increase the recorded cashflow.

    One thing that bugged me was the time he was explaining how laundering money worked, and he literally put a bunch of cash in the dryer to make it look worn out. What's the point of that? The drug money he received from his boss shouldn't have been pristine in the first place.

    Is there going to be a season 2?
    I had the same thought about the literal money laundering, why would they be getting paid in blocks of mint $100's? Yes there is going to be a season 2, also apparently another season of Arrested Development. It's a Jason Bateman world we're living in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelBlue View Post
    I had the same thought about the literal money laundering, why would they be getting paid in blocks of mint $100's? Yes there is going to be a season 2, also apparently another season of Arrested Development. It's a Jason Bateman world we're living in.
    It's funny you mention AD because there were several moments during Ozark (specifically when he reacted to his son's quirks) where I saw Michael Bluth come to the surface. Great news about both series--I kind of assumed that AD was dead because it's been so long since I heard anything about it.
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    I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up money laundering in the dictionary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyFreeNorthwest View Post
    I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up money laundering in the dictionary.
    Speak for yourself! I know all about laundering from watching Breaking Bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Student View Post
    Speak for yourself! I know all about laundering from watching Breaking Bad.
    But I guess you've never watched Office Space.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyFreeNorthwest View Post
    But I guess you've never watched Office Space.
    Ohh, I forgot that quote.
    "Seriously, is there a bigger high on the whole face of the earth than eating a salad?"--SeattleUte
    "The only Ute to cause even half the nationwide hysteria of Jimmermania was Ted Bundy."--TripletDaddy
    This is a tough, NYC broad, a doctor who deals with bleeding organs, dying people and testicles on a regular basis without crying."--oxcoug
    "I'm not impressed (and I'm even into choreography . . .)"--Donuthole
    "I too was fortunate to leave with my same balls."--byu71

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    Senior Member SteelBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topper View Post
    Not being a money launderer, I hadn't researched too deeply, but it looks as if you are well on your way to a second, profitable career.
    It'd be my second career but only my first profitable one.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Student View Post
    One thing that bugged me was the time he was explaining how laundering money worked, and he literally put a bunch of cash in the dryer to make it look worn out. What's the point of that? The drug money he received from his boss shouldn't have been pristine in the first place.
    Did he wash the cash first? Maybe this was a really on-the-nose metaphor that you missed.
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    Senior Member Katy Lied's Avatar
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    i think Lost Student has it right. It's not hyper inflating expenses, it is hyper inflating receipts. Especially cash receipts. Buy the business and co mingle the dirty money with clean profits. The Feds don't know that the 100% capacity you are claiming your restaurant has is really 4 guys per night. That's why you need cash businesses: restaurants, strip joints, laundromats, Prosperity Mega Churches.

    Interestingly, its not the Feds that normally catch money launderers; it's their banks. No one knows their clients like banks, who know what local demand is for cash businesses in their community, and will catch any outliers. If I were a money launderer, I would not buy the business outright, just a huge cash infusion to a struggling business. Be the silent partner, and at the first opportunity, pay off any loans or lines of credit or anything with a banking partner.

  13. #13

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    Started watching this. Thanks to the tip in the Netflix thread. I remembered this thread and had the same question.

    I guess the reason he is inflating expense receipts is to keep the profit low, and/or to not make the business appear to be too profitable to attract an audit? My understanding is that the revenue side is all that would actually launder cash. Which also makes me wonder why building the church would do anything for him. Unless he owns the construction company that is building the church and inflating the revenue for that company? So confused.

    But my bigger question is related to evading the FBI. (not all the way through with the first season so maybe this is addressed later) He withdraws $8M. The feds know he's dirty. They just need to prove it. And here he is recklessly laundering money in every possible way. Why don't the feds just come in and audit the books of his companies? They just sit there helpless?

    Also, question... Since he had $8M available to withdraw, and his partner ended up being a Fed informant, and the Jason Bateman character was obviously the brains of the operation and so meticulous as we are to find out, are we supposed to assume that he was actually the one screwing his bosses not his partner? And the bosses kind of knew that and let it go because they knew he was the smart guy and wanted to retain him, even though they knew he had screwed them?

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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Finished this last night. I really liked it. Looking forward to Season 2.
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