Ancient years ago, when my husband was a grad student, I worked as a secretary at the same university, in one of the foreign-language departments. One day, one of our doctoral students—a native speaker of the language in question—came into the office with a very interesting tale.
A master's student in another department had offered to pay her to translate a journal article from the language in question into English. Someone had suggested it to him as a source for his master's thesis, but he didn't read the language well enough to deal with it in the original. Fortunately, our student had the presence of mind to check with the other department. Turned out that the other student was supposed to be translating the article himself, as part of the work for his thesis. Obviously, our student didn't accept the job. Equally obviously, the jig was up for the other guy: not only had he been planning to cheat, he'd tried to suborn someone else to help him, without that person knowing that they'd be abetting fraud.
We never did hear what happened to the other student, so all these years I've been wondering: What is, or ought to be, the penalty for academic dishonesty that gets uncovered before it actually takes place? Is it worse for a high-stakes project like a master's thesis than for an ordinary course assignment? Is it worse yet when you try to involve someone else who doesn't know what's going on?