Your moralist here . . . OK, here's the short answer: cheating (and lying) are wrong.
The University of Virginia has had more than its share of cheating scandals, probably because it uses the "honor system," and when cheating is discovered, penalties are severe - expulsion or loss of degrees conferred while cheating occurred. Time and time again, cheating has been uncovered at the Ivy League colleges. Entire books and movies have been written about cheating, and the recent film "The Informant" highlighted a book I've already read about Mark Whitacre and his role in the ADM price-fixing investigation - as well as his $multi-million embezzlement from the company - mostly in order to pay off the Nigerians who seem to have made him their most high-profile 419 scam.
But what do you get? Mark Whitacre may be the subject of a film and more than one book, and has now served his time and is currently working again in the biochemical industry, but I doubt very many people would want to trade lives with him. The students at UVA who got caught cheating wasted all of their time and parents' money spent on their education - they will all have been fortunate to be able to make a fresh start somewhere else - back at square one.
Even those who cheat and think they're fortunate, smarter than everyone else, and haven't yet been caught will eventually find their habits catching up with them. Would anyone want to trade places with former President Bill Clinton on the day he had to admit he had done something with Monica Lewinsky? How about John Edwards? He's got a beautiful little girl . . . that he tried to disown in every way possible! He was publically exposed, not only for cheating on his wife who was dying of cancer, but for doing the sleaziest possible underhanded things to try to escape scrutiny for the cheating, and the little girl that resulted from it. And what about those devilish Nigerians? Scammed by their own scam - and humiliatingly so.
Nothing good ever comes from cheating, and the people who think they are so smart by "getting away with it" - well, that never lasts. Remember, "His name is mud?" which supposedly came from Dr. Samuel Mudd, who helped John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated President Lincoln (maybe not - it was apparently used much earlier). I'm thinking that there will be some future use for "Madoff" as in - "He Madoff with all their money."