This is an FTC case, however, which focuses on preventing bad business practices like deceptive advertising, as opposed to punishing them. This does not deal with a class action lawsuit brought up against a company that had perpetrated deceptive advertising. Such a lawsuit cannot result in any criminal charges brought against the defendant, but it can involve significant fines for that company, especially as most class action lawsuits with any strength behind them have abundant amounts of evidence, capable of convincing near any jury
An example of such a class action lawsuit comes from a recent case against Classmates.com, a website advertising all over the Internet as a service that could bring together former classmates. Classmates.com sent a number of messages to different individuals, claiming that their classmates were trying to get in touch with them, but to see those messages, the recipient would have to sign up for a costly "Gold Membership."
Needless to say, these messages were entirely deceptive advertising, designed to trick recipients into signing up for the costly account. Those individuals who did sign up for such an account were able to mount a strong class action case against Classmates.com, accusing it of bad business practices and deceptive advertising. In the end, though the case did not result in Classmates.com admitting to any wrongdoing, it did result in Classmates.com needing to pay $3 for every person who fell to such a deception, which came out to close to $9 million.
The above case makes clear that, even though criminal charges are not often brought up against perpetrators of deceptive advertising, it is still possible to charge them with some form of case which will lead such perpetrators pay for their actions.
Unfortunately, however, such class action lawsuits are not easy to put together, as they require a large number of people with a similar grievance to pool money and evidence. This is not to say that it is impossible, but simply that such civil lawsuits are less common than suits brought on by the FTC.