We're working to limit the ability of criminals who exploit technology to commit not only IP crime, but other crimes as well. We've signed important agreements on information sharing, including the Convention on Cybercrime, which will become the gold standard for international cooperation on cyber crime. That agreement has increased our ability to share information with other countries, and to collaborate in bringing criminals to justice.
A number of recent investigations begun in the U.S. have resulted in successful prosecutions in foreign countries long considered to be so-called "hacker havens." For example, based on close cooperation between the Department, the FBI, and Romanian authorities, prosecutors from that country's Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism arrested eleven Romanian citizens on fraud and identity theft charges last November.
They were part of a criminal organization that specialized in "phishing" information from computer users, imprinting credit and debit card information onto counterfeit cards, and then using those cards to obtain cash from ATMs and Western Union locations. Romanian police officers executed 21 search warrants and seized computers, card reading and writing devices, blank cards, and other equipment.
It's imperative that countries work together on cases like these to ensure strong enforcement worldwide. To enhance that kind of cooperation, Justice Department lawyers have provided training and technical assistance to thousands of foreign prosecutors, investigators, and judges in more than a hundred countries.
We've placed IP Law Enforcement Coordinators in Bangkok , Thailand , and in Sofia , Bulgaria , to help us target our training activities in these vital regions. They've met with more than 1,500 prosecutors, investigators, and law enforcement officials in Asia and Eastern Europe during the past 12 months, and are providing training and assistance to address developing trends in IP crime. And we've worked to create an IP Crimes Enforcement Network in Asia to ensure that law enforcement officers there have the tools and the means of communication needed to fight international IP crime.
Building these connections and maintaining a presence around the world yields law enforcement dividends extending far beyond IP crimes. That's because it's part of the nature of these crimes that they tend to overlap with many other activities of organized criminal operations.
A Russian mobster selling fake handbags through a middleman in New York may also be selling pirated DVDs in London , counterfeit AIDS medicine in Africa , and child pornography over the internet. We can take advantage of these multiple crimes and multiple jurisdictions to go after the criminal wherever the opportunity to disrupt his illegal activity is greatest. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and our international contacts give us more options to do what needs to be done.
That said, in order for us to have as many options as possible at home, as well as to meet the global challenges of IP crime, our laws have to be up to date.
Last year, the Department submitted to Congress a comprehensive IP protection package to equip law enforcement with the tools necessary to fight these crimes and protect property owners. That legislation would toughen penalties for counterfeiting crimes that threaten public health and safety, and for repeat offenders. It would criminalize attempted copyright infringement, and add important investigative tools such as granting courts the authority to issue wiretap orders in criminal counterfeiting and piracy investigations.
Currently there are a few competing bills in the Senate and the House, each of which includes some of these provisions, and each of which has some other things we think could impede our ability to do our jobs in this field. The Department is working with Congress to make sure that whatever legislation they pass helps us maintain the progress we've made and allows us to do what needs to be done in the future.