Software Maker Gets Infusion of Capital; Money-Laundering Detectors Flourish

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Byline: William Glanz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Mantas Inc., a privately held Fairfax company seeing increased demand for its software that helps financial institutions uncover money laundering, plans to announce today that it will receive $17.5 million in venture capital.

The investment will come from Safeguard Scientifics Inc., the Wayne, Pa., firm that is a founding investor in Mantas.

Interest in anti-laundering software has surged since the U.S.A. Patriot Act was steamrolled through Congress last year. That law, a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, gives broad investigative powers to law enforcement agencies. Another part of the far-reaching law requires brokerages to monitor financial transactions for suspicious financial activity and report suspected money laundering to federal investigators.

Banks already monitor financial transactions, but the law lets Congress extend the monitoring requirement to brokerage firms, broadening the market for Mantas' anti-laundering software.

The mandate is expected to spur sales, and investors are focusing attention on software-developers like Mantas that market applications to financial companies.

"We have unfortunate celebrity because of the evil that touched us," Mantas CEO Simon Moss said.

Mantas' anti-laundering software helps financial institutions monitor all types of transactions, including deposits, wire transfers and ATM withdrawals.

One approach allows financial institutions to establish a pattern of activity to signal a deviation in banking patterns among customers. The software flags deviations, and bank officials determine whether the activity should be reported to the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Mr. Moss said.

The software also tracks transactions so banks and brokerages can determine whether there is any significance to a series of transactions based on the pattern of the banking activity.

The software is unlikely to catch all instances of money laundering, but "we think we add as much transparency as possible," Mr. …