Hungarian President, Pal Schmitt, was forced to resign from his position due to allegations that much of his doctoral thesis contained plagiarised text. Mr Schmitt had written his thesis twenty years ago, so the passage of time did not protect him from his actions. Have a look at the Plagiarism Checker Blog for more examples of plagiarism fall out.
JCU advises students that passing off another’s work as your own is not only bad scholarship, it also means that you have failed to complete the learning process. JCU regards intentional plagiarism as unethical, and advises that it can have serious consequences for your future career. For more information, read JCU's What is plagiarism? and the Academic Acknowledgement and Plagiarism Policy webpages.
You can avoid allegations of plagiarism by correctly referencing your assignments. Have a look at the Referencing LibGuide for advice on how to cite your information sources in one of the major referencing styles (eg. APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Vancouver). Ask InfoHelp staff for assistance if you aren't sure you have referenced your information sources correctly.
(1) Encyclopedia of Ethics, s.v. "plagiarism," accessed July 22, 2012, http://www.credoreference.com.elibrary.jcu.edu.au/entry/routethics/plagiarism.