A Utah man and his investment firm have been ordered to pay nearly $70 million in disgorgement and penalties for operating a massive real estate ponzi scheme that bilked more than 600 investors out of money, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday.

Wayne L. Palmer, and his firm, National Note of Utah, both of West Jordan, Utah, were ordered by a federal district court judge in Utah to pay the money as a result of a civil fraud suit filed by the SEC in June 2012.

The court found that starting in 2009 Palmer promised more than 600 investors a guaranteed 12 percent annual return and assured them their money was completely secured and being used to make hard money loans, purchase notes, and acquire real estate.

In reality, Palmer was using new money to pay earlier investors. He raised $100 million from investors nationwide, the SEC says. Palmer has been ordered to pay disgorgement of $1,767,287 and National Note has been ordered to disgorge $65 million. Palmer also was ordered to pay $1,050,000 in penalties and National Note $900,000.

Glossy marketing materials given out at his seminars supposedly showed that National Note returns did not fluctuate and stated that investors were guaranteed payment even if property owners missed payment on mortgage loans that National Note held. By 2011 National Note had ceased making any payments to investors and Palmer assured investors money would be forthcoming, the SEC says.