U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sullivan's office today announced that it is conducting an investigation of Washington Mutual and the events leading up to its takeover by the FDIC and sale to JP Morgan Chase. Said Sullivan in a statement: "Due to the intense public interest in the failure of Washington Mutual, I want to assure our community that federal law enforcement is examining activities at the bank to determine if any federal laws were violated." Sullivan's task force includes investigators from the FBI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s Office of Inspector General, Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations division. Sullivan's office asks that anyone with information for the task force call 1-866-915-8299; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. "For more than 100 years Washington Mutual was a highly regarded financial institution headquartered in Seattle," Sullivan said. "Given the significant losses to investors, employees, and our community, it is fully appropriate that we scrutinize the activities of the bank, its leaders, and others to determine if any federal laws were violated." WaMu was seized by the FDIC on Sept. 25, and its banking operations were sold to JPMorgan Chase, prompting a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Washington Mutual Inc., the bank's holding company. The takeover was preceded by an effort to sell the entire company, but no firm bids emerged. The Associated Press reported Sept. 23 that the FBI is investigating four other major U.S. financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger the $700 billion bailout plan by the Bush administration. The AP report cited two unnamed law-enforcement officials who said that the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insurer American International Group (AIG). Additionally, a senior law-enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings is under investigation. The inquiries will focus on the financial institutions and the individuals who ran them, the senior law-enforcement official said. FBI Director Robert Mueller said in September that about two dozen large financial firms were under investigation. He did not name any of the companies but said the FBI also was looking at whether any of them have misrepresented their assets.